Although the DR Congo houses less than 10% of the species diversity of the genus Coffea, its forests are the habitat of an important stock of genetic diversity for coffee breeding. It is the home land of important genetic diversity of Coffea canephora and Coffea eugenioides, the two parent species of Coffea arabica, and three of their close relatives: Coffea brevipes, C. congensis and C. kivuensis.
In total, 8 Coffea species sensu strictu occur in the DRC (C. liberica s.l., C. kivuensis, C. eugenioides, C. brevipes, Coffea aff. mayumbensis, C. dactylifera, C. canephora, C. congensis) and 4 Psilanthus species (C. mannii, C. sapinii, C. lebruniana, C. sp. nov.), 5 of these species are endemic in the DRC.
Yangambi is the principal research station of the INERA, Institut National des Etudes et Recherches Agronomiques, the former INEAC, Institut National pour l’Etude Agronomique du Congo Belge. It was an important coffee research station during the colonisation and still is the principal research station for agronomic research on Robusta coffee in the DRC. The most important gene core collection of Robusta coffee for the Congo basis is housed in Yangambi.
Meise Botanic Garden is coordinating the rehabilitating the Yangambi coffee collections as a contribution to FORETS (“FOrmation, Recherche, Environnement dans la TShopo”), a project funded with resources from the XI European Development Fund and managed by CIFOR.