By David Ssempijja
KAMPALA, Sept 24– The Ugandan government has established an independent coffee research centre aimed at boosting the crop’s production, uplifting farmers’ incomes and improving the country’s economic progress through increased export revenue.
The National Agricultural Research Organization has turned the Mukono-Kituuza-based National Crop Resources Research Institute (NACRRI) into an independent National Coffee Research Institute (NACORI) and consequently transferred its activities to Namulonge.
Officiating at the NACORI launch ceremony recently, Prof. Zerubbabel Nyira, the agriculture state minister, said the government was more focused on boosting the coffee industry given its capacity in uplifting Uganda into a self-sustaining agricultural economy.
“Uganda has to, an extent, leveraged coffee to grow her economy. However, the sub-sector is hampered by a number of challenges. We therefore move to tackle those impediments through comprehensive research,” he said.
Coffee production and export in Uganda stagnated at about three million 60kg bags per year over the last 40 years.
Data at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, the coffee regulator, indicated that 2.7 million bags of coffee worth 393 million US dollars were produced and sold in 2012 and 3.58 million bags valued at 433 million USD were produced last year.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the launch, the NACORI director, Dr. William Wagoire, said: “The centre will focus on developing varieties that can resist diseases as well as those that can withstand the adverse effects of climatic change.”
Joseph Nkandu, one of the NACORI governing council directors, said the centre would go beyond production of new varieties, to include other undertakings such as improving the coffee value chain for increased earnings for farmers.
“We consider NACORI as the beginning of taking research benefits directly to the coffee farmers. We shall be dealing with the coffee farm production issues and engaging farmers and policy makers in matters of value addition and marketing in pursuit of increased benefits,” he said.
SOURCE: NEW VISION