To increase availability and stabilize the production of resistant/tolerant Jamaican coffee (Coffea arabica) in a competitive global environment.
Coffee is the second most traded commodity (after crude oil) in the world. However, production is currently seriously affected by the disease coffee leaf rust (CLR) caused by Hemileia vastatrix, a multicellular basidiomycete fungus, which kills coffee plants by withering their leaves. Improving economically important crops, such as coffee, to produce higher yields and better quality with resistance to diseases, are critical for Jamaica’s performance in the global marketplace, and in maintaining its competitive advantage in certain food areas.
Mutation breeding offers a possible solution to the problem of production decline due to CLR. The tissue culture protocol for in vitro propagation of Coffea arabica is currently being developed. Once sufficient tissue culture material is established, plants will be subjected to radiation and assessed for resistance/tolerance to CLR.