Previously the coffee improvement strategy of Ethiopia was aimed to develop widely adaptable and stable cultivars across all coffee growing regions of the country although there is a significant ecological variation that prevails between the major coffee growing regions. Assessing the feedback from users on the performance of released coffee cultivars, the national coffee research program realized the need to initiate coffee improvement programs for each coffee growing region that possessed specific coffee quality and fetch premium price in the world market. In effect, coffee improvement program was initiated for Awada Agricultural Research Center mandated to improve south Ethiopian coffee with the financial aid of the Government of Switzerland. To date about 580 arabica coffee accessions have been collected and maintained in the center in separate sets of collection, and are under evaluation. Forty two (set I) and 16 (set II) selections are under variety trials, 12 selections are in variety verification trial, five hybrids are under variety verification trial and four high yielding cultivars that possessed the typical quality of Yirgachefe or Sidama coffee types were released to coffee growers in the region. In this paper, coffee improvement activities, such as collection and evaluation of germplasm, variety development activities and genetic studies are reviewed.
Part of the book: Horticultural Crops