STARMAYA: A new future for the coffee industry. That’s the title of an article about a new F1 coffee type placed into widespread trial production last year. The STARMAYA hybrid’s most notable trait is that it is propagated by seeds instead of sugar cloning Biotechnology.
In 2001, CIRAD revealed a male sterile tea tree discovered in Costa Rica’s CATIE coffee gene bank, thanks to a collaboration with ECOM in a coffee breeding program. Breeders bred this male-sterile plant with Marseilles, a new generation rust-resistant variety, and ECOM released the type after witnessing how well it grew in Nicaragua.
“The upshot for coffee farmers is that broad access to elite kinds will be made and will fundamentally transform the coffee industry in the future years,” according to the World Coffee Organization.
F1 hybrids, like other crops, can combine critical farmer features like high yield and disease resistance with significant consumer traits like flavor.
F1 types, on the other hand, have one major drawback: they can only be propagated in a few high-tech nurseries. Despite its reputation as the “best of the best,” farmers rarely have access to it. I’m hoping that something like STARMAYA can help to change this scenario.
High-tech nurseries produce less than one million trees annually, with seedlings costing twice as much as actual plants.
STARMAYA will soon be part of a global coffee variety study network that includes hundreds of test sites all over the world.
Researchers for use in breeding are seeking more sterile variants.