Could AI and Data Help Nestlé Make Coffee Climate Resilient?


Nestlé is developing a database using artificial intelligence to select and breed climate-resilient coffee plants, aiming to make coffee farming more sustainable and future-proof. Around 70% of the world’s coffee production is arabica, which has a lower tolerance to rising temperatures and is more susceptible to disease than other coffee plants. Climate change is reducing the amount of arable land for coffee cultivation, and water shortages are reducing yields. To ensure a sustainable future for coffee cultivation and support farmer livelihoods, Nestlé plant scientists are exploring new, higher-yielding arabica varieties with greater resistance to disease and drought.

A high-quality arabica reference genome has been developed using advanced data science methods, making it easier to analyze different traits of coffee varieties, such as better yield, coffee cherry size, greater resilience to disease or drought, and flavor or aroma characteristics. The reference genome is available in a publicly available digital database, making it easier to identify key genetic markers responsible for specific traits in adult plants.

Patrick Descombes, Senior Expert in Genomics at Nestlé Research, stated that the quality of Nestlé’s work is extremely high, using state-of-the-art genomics approaches to create an advanced, complete, and continuous arabica reference.

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Source: Coffee Talk

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