May 9, 2013

Embrapa Releases New Coffee Variety for State of Rondonia, Brazil

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

After fifteen years of research, Embrapa Rondonia announced the release of their first variety of robust coffee for cultivation in the state of Rondonia in the southern Amazon region of Brazil. The new variety called BRS Black Gold has been specifically developed for the climate and soils of the state. Coffee production in the state is generally done on small family farms scattered throughout the state and this new variety is expected to be available for the 40,000 coffee producers in state over the next two years.

BRS Black Gold can greatly increase the amount of coffee produced in a small area helping to reduce the need for additional deforestation to increase production. For the last two years, coffee production in the state has averaged approximately 11 sacks of 60 kilograms per hectare, but the new variety can produce up to 70 sacks per hectare.

The state of Rondonia is the sixth largest coffee producing state in Brazil and the second largest producer of robust coffee after the state of Espirito Santo. Robust coffee accounts for over 90% of the coffee produced in the state. Approximately one third of the coffee grown in the world is robust varieties, which is used primarily for instant and espresso coffee.

Historically, coffee production in the state has suffered from a lack of technical expertise, inadequate production practices, elevated input and labor costs, low soil fertility, inadequate credit, etc. Embrapa hopes that this new variety will help to resolve some of these issues and improve the income of coffee producers in the state.

Additionally, the new variety was developed specifically for the climate of the state which is characterized by high temperatures, extended periods of high relative humidity, and a lack of moisture during the dry season which is generally from May to September. This new variety is well adapted to modern coffee production practices including, increased fertilization, pruning, as well as disease and pest control.