Located in Mukono District (38Km east of Kampala), Kituza Coffee Research Institute received funds from Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and constructed a laboratory in 2016 whose activities commenced this year.
According to Dr. Musoli Pascal, the head of breeding at the institute, the laboratory requires about 10 billion shillings (USD2.6million) to operate at full capacity.

He told the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) that each generation of coffee variety uses a distinct protocol. “Generation of a clone for Robusta at the facility takes 9 months but on condition there is 24/7 electricity connection,” he said.

The laboratory at Kituza tested coffee from different parts of the country and a difference in quality was recognized. This is attributed to the geographical indicators. 

According to Musoli, it is easy to multiply Robusta coffee using tissue culture method than Arabica coffee. Incase of cuttings, the survival rate for Arabica Coffee is much higher than Robusta coffee.

Challenges
Musoli attributes most challenges to operational failures by farmers. For example the Seed system extension to farmers has suffered sabotage. 

At the nursery bed level of planting Robusta Coffee, most farmers decide to use the cutting process of propagation instead of the tissue culture. 

The laboratory facility requires 24/7 electricity supply to efficiently meet the 9 months of cloning of coffee and an adequate number of workers to attend varying demands. All these have remained elusive for Kituza Coffee Research Institute.

Financial constraint is one inescapable challenge affecting progress at the institute. Since each variety needs its own protocol for cloning, the costs become very high overtime.

High mortality of coffee plants mainly for cuttings is a big challenge and nursery bed operators are advised to oblige to the rules from seed certification centres that also receive guidelines from UCDA.
The disconnection in roles played by different institutions has jostled some of the activities at Kituza Coffee Research Institute.

 Kituza Coffee institute WB

Way forward
The institute is adopting the use of biotechnology to track and match the DNA of coffee types at the lab with those of nursery bed operators. The research centre has been given a mandate to deal with perportors who germinate coffee types that are different.

The centre further seeks to be a sole provider of the highbreed seeds with different germinating and seed certification centres across all regions of the country. 

The institute advices UCDA to often distribute coffee seeds to farmers in March, a periof in which rains set in. Many times farmers in Northern Uganda get coffee seedlings in September, a month with hot temperatures, which often leads to losses since the seedlings dry. This problem is worsend by absence of irrigation.  

Linkage with private sector
Weaning of coffee is left for the private sector. At the moment, Agromax, which is located in Gayaza and Finca in kyenjojo, are the current partners of Kituza Coffee Research Institute. Even then, a strong working relation with UCDA would propel the agenda of Kituza Coffee Research Institute.
The private individuals will have to set up their own screen houses to germinate the coffee from the labs.

 

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