New coffee varieties as a climate adaptation strategy: Empirical evidence from Costa Rica

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Adapting to climate change in vulnerable coffee regions is crucial to maintain rural livelihoods. Among the solutions, coffee breeding strategies aim to produce coffee varieties with higher output performance than traditional varieties while reducing competition for land. This paper investigates the output performance of hybrid coffee (e.g., Starmaya and Centroamericano – H1), introgressed (e.g., Marsellesa and obatá) and traditional coffee (e.g., Caturra and Villa Sarchi) varieties. By using plot-level panel data among commercial farms in Costa Rica, we estimate the output performance of the three coffee varieties using pooled ordinary least squares and random effects models. We find that hybrid coffee varieties give 29-61% higher output than traditional coffee varieties. The results remain robust even after controlling for factor and climate inputs. Notwithstanding the larger productivity, hybrid coffee varieties demand more labor and inorganic fertilizers. While pesticide use may be reduced by hybrid's pest resistance, agroecological approaches for nutrient management are still needed to improve livelihoods and environmental outcomes. Headed towards longer-term studies, our paper presents the first evidence on the output performance of hybrid coffee varieties outside on-farm trials or experimental plots. These results suggest the potential of hybrid coffee varieties in promoting sustainable agriculture by improving the livelihood of coffee farmers, enhancing their adaptation against climate change and decreasing competition for land.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100046
JournalWorld Development Sustainability
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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