Examining growth, yield and bean quality of Ethiopian coffee trees: towards optimizing resources and tree management

Adugna Bote

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Coffee (Coffeaarabica L.)bean production and quality are determined by a diversity of interacting factors (e.g. shade, nitrogen, crop traits). Bean yield increases with increase in radiation, but adequate fertilizer suppliesare needed to sustain the productivity. This thesis analysed coffee tree growth, bean production and bean quality in relation to different degrees of exposure to radiation and nitrogen supply. Growth of leaves and branches and properties of leaves such as specific leaf area, nitrogen content per unit leaf area and light-saturated rate of photosynthesis were determined. Radiation interception and nitrogen uptake were also determined as were radiation use efficiency and apparent nitrogen recovery. Tree biomass and coffee bean yield responded positively to both radiation and nitrogen supply. Abundant bean yield to the detriment of vegetative growth, however, resultedin biennial bearing in coffee trees. Effects of fruit load on coffee treegrowth and productivity were studied for two consecutive years and the resultshowed that competition between fruit growth and vegetative growth predisposed the trees for biennial bearing. Reduced vegetative growth when fruit load is high reduces the number of flower bearing nodes and hence yields in the next season. Coffee quality is a sum of favourable characteristics that satisfies requirements of different actors in the coffee chain and is the factor determining the price on the coffee market. This study has also examined coffee quality attributes in relation to radiation and nitrogen, fruit load manipulation, and genotype by environment (different altitudes) interactions. The result indicated that factors and conditions that support non-limiting supply of resources for bean to grow and a sufficient long period of maturation promote coffee bean quality. Overall, the study gained further understanding of coffee tree growth, yield and bean quality responses to aforementioned factors and explored traits that underlie the patterns. Further works are required to use the traits and describe the behaviour of coffee trees in different agro-ecosystems.


Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Anten, Niels, Promotor
  • Vos, Jan, Co-promotor
  • Ocho, F.L., Co-promotor, External person
Award date30 Aug 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789462578319
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • coffea
  • coffea arabica
  • trees
  • growth
  • yields
  • quality
  • radiation
  • nitrogen
  • agroecosystems

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