The National Agricultural Research Organization has introduced new coffee varieties that are disease resistant and aimed at helping farmers benefit more from coffee growing.
The three new varieties are Kituuza 8, Kituuza 9, and Kituuza 10 which are resistant to the coffee wilt, leaf thrust and other diseases and also have other unique attributes that will benefit farmers and exporters.
According to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority Executive Director, Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira, the new varieties if managed well will give more coffee yields per hectare and benefit farmers by improving their yields in both quality and quantity.
“We introduced seven new varieties since the 1990s following an outbreak of coffee wilt and today, we have added three more varieties which are resistant to the coffee wilt,” Dr. Iyamulemye said.
Dr Lyamulemye was speaking last Saturday at a farm clinic held at the National Coffee Research Institute (NaCoRI) in Kituuza, Mukono district.
According to Dr.Pascal Musoori, chief breeder at NaCoRI, these new qualities will improve coffee export earnings and improve the income of farmer.
“Kituuza 8 gets you high yields with good management that can go to about 6 tons per hectare and 5.6 kilograms per tree while Kituuza 9 yields 9 tons per hectare which translates into nine kilograms per tree whereas Kituuza 10, which is the best of all the three varieties gives a farmer 10 tons per hectare which translates into 10 kilograms per tree, ” he said.
The NARO Deputy Director-General in charge of Agricultural Technology, Promotion, DrImelda Kashaija said, “If you don’t have good varieties of crops, even if you put in fertilizers and pesticide, the yields will not improve. These new varieties will benefit farmers a lot but also exporters,” Kashaija noted.
Dr.Godfrey Kagezi, a senior research officer at NaCoRI said the new varieties are line with President Museveni’s directive that saw the introduction of a coffee roadmap aimed at increasing coffee production from four million bags per year to 20 million bags per year by 2025.
“In the past, we faced a problem of the coffee wilt that almost wiped out all the coffee trees but introduced new resistant varieties. The ones we have just launched are also resistant to drought and will benefit farmers a lot,” Kagezi said.
Uganda is the leading exporter of coffee on the African continent ahead of Ethiopia and is the third export income earner for Uganda