Dr. Pauline Aluka, a Coffee plant breeder at the Kituza-based National Coffee Research Institute NACori says the several years of research using this latest mode of plant-let multiplication are quite promising to the countrys coffee sector.
The use tissue culture in coffee seedling multiplication could resolve the coffee seedling crisis in the country. Researchers at the National Coffee Research Institute (NACori) with tissue culture which is a form of biotechnology, they could produce up to one million coffee seedlings per year.
Dr. Pauline Aluka, a Coffee plant breeder at the Kituza-based National Coffee Research Institute (NACori) says the several years of research using this latest mode of plant-let multiplication are quite promising to the country's coffee sector.
She says with tissue culture, a tiny portion of a coffee leaf can be used to propagate hundreds of coffee plantlets compared to the current planting method where coffee seeds have to be sowed at a seed bed, let to germinate then transferred for planting.
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Kituza recently acquired a state of the art biotechnology laboratory located at Mukono. With such a laboratory in place, Aluka says researchers there could produce up to a million plantlets per year when the laboratory is fully functioning.
Coffee seedling being distributed by Uganda Coffee Development Authority and Operation Wealth creation are bred at private nurseries using conventional methods of breeding.
Such plants according to Dr. Aluka have a potential of transferring coffee disease from where they used not to be. But with tissue cultured seedlings, she says the farmer will be assured of getting clean planting coffee seedling.
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Some farmers are already planting the tissue-cultured seedlings. Dr. Aluka says over eighty thousand plant-lets have been generated, hardened and distributed to the farmers using the tissue culture method.
NaCORI has provided starter materials to more than 150 nursery operators in more than 40 Robusta coffee growing districts
One of the other challenges in the coffee sector has been that of pests and diseases. Aluka says this technology will help farmers to deal with such constraint.
Also though new coffee seedlings have been planted under Uganda Coffee Development Authority and Operation Wealth Creation, there are concerns that most of the adult coffee plants are between 25-30 years old and need uprooting.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority and National Coffee Research Institute ( NaCORI) agenda is the production of quality planting materials as starter materials for the nursery operators.
In addition, the institute's efforts are currently also geared to producing four hundred thousand (400,000) rooted cuttings per year using mother gardens.