The National Coffee Research Institute (NACORI) has developed new high-yielding and disease-resistant Arabica varieties that will make Ugandan farmers more competitive at the local and global levels once they are released on the market. The varieties were developed with support from the European Union (EU) under the European Union – East African Community Market Access Upgrade Programme (EU-EAC MARKUP).
“Uganda has been lagging behind in development of new Arabica varieties and this is going to be a landmark for the farmers and the sector,” Dr. Pascal Musoli, a plant breeder and top coffee and cocoa researcher at NACORI revealed.
This was during a meeting with members of the National Steering Committees, who visited the institute located at Kituuza, Mukono to learn how EU-EAC MARKUP has supported Ugandan scientists to carry out research and develop coffee and cocoa varieties to increase production and productivity. The lessons and good practices will be adopted by partner states to help unlock trade and investment opportunities in EAC.
Dr. Musooli noted that the support they received from MARKUP enabled NACORI scientists develop new Arabica varieties whose performance is above 200% of the old types. The new Arabica varieties are also resistant to diseases such as leaf rust and coffee berry disease compared to old varieties.
Under the MARKUP project, NaCORI received support to evaluate and release improved Arabica coffee varieties and carry out preliminary evaluation of cocoa clones. The mandate of NaCORI is to carry out research on coffee and cocoa in Uganda.
All activities related to research under the MARKUP project are implemented by NaCORI under the supervision of UCDA. The MARKUP project supported NaCORI to carry out research in four locations: Zeu in Zombo district, Kyenjojo, Kabale, and Buginyanya (Elgon region).
Dr. Musooli noted that while research was already ongoing into development of new varieties, the funds from MARKUP came at a critical time and made a big difference. According to Dr. Musooli, the new varieties performed above 200% in comparison to the old types and once released to farmers, they will help increase production and productivity for
farmers enabling them earn more.
The varieties are resistant to leaf rust and coffee berry disease which is going to reduce the burden on farmers to purchase chemicals to control diseases and pests.