ICAFE is a privately funded lab that focuses on research and development in the coffee sector. ICAFE conducts research in all areas of coffee production from evaluating soil and farm lands to researching pesticides and fungicides to prevent coffee from diseases. Some of the technology that ICAFE is currently developing are spectrometry machines that can scan a sample of green beans and determine where the beans were grown. This is helpful because certain companies can claim to sell Costa Rican grown coffee but in reality, they import their coffee from different places. This also allows ICAFE’s researchers to know where their coffee sample comes from before they use that sample for further research. Additionally, ICAFE has developed labs that can simulate coffee growing conditions in which they can test pesticides and fungicides in a controlled area. They can also grow fungi in their lab with conditions similar those in a coffee plantation. The technology and laboratories that ICAFE develops and utilizes provides pertinent and extremely useful information to all members of the Costa Rican coffee sector.
Costa Rican coffee farmers could reach out to ICAFE for many different reasons. For example, ICAFE can provide farmers free pesticide and fungicide to help protect their crops. ICAFE will also notify these farmers when the optimal time to use these pesticides and fungicides would be. For example, ICAFE would notice that in a week the weather conditions would be perfect for the growth of red rust, a common coffee fungus, and they would text the coffee farmers in advance to apply the proper fungicide. ICAFE also tells farmers exactly how much pesticide or fungicide to use so that they don’t over treat the coffee’s diseases and by extension pollute the environment. ICAFE can be very helpful for small coffee farmers who don’t necessarily have the technology or money to find out this information about their coffee farms.
On the other hand, large coffee farmers might not want help from ICAFE. This could be because they do have the money and materials to conduct their own research and they don’t want to have to use ICAFE’s methods. Also, large coffee producers might not want to make their data and information public. Large coffee companies like Britt or 1820 might not want to share their techniques so that they can have a competitive advantage over their competitors. Following ICAFE’s regulations and rules might be annoying for large companies since they would much rather operate independently without a nongovernmental organization checking in on their methods. For larger coffee companies they might see ICAFE as more of a nuisance while a smaller coffee company might view ICAFE as more beneficial.