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Wednesday,October 16,2019 12:20 PM

Farmers want clonal coffee cuttings

By Noah Jagwe

Added 29th March 2018 03:18 PM

“The truth is, this elite coffee is holding back farmers other than development the government wants to bring about,” Kiwanuka said.

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“The truth is, this elite coffee is holding back farmers other than development the government wants to bring about,” Kiwanuka said.

PIC: Farmers are critical of the existing varieties of coffee and want a shift to clonal coffee

AGRICULTURE


A number of coffee farmers across the country have argued that the elite coffee seedlings supplied by Operation Wealth Creation and Uganda Coffee Development Authority have low production compared to clonal coffee.

Kiwanuka Joseph, the secretary of Kabonera Coffee Farmers’ Co-operative Society Limited from Masaka district, said that if the government is to realise 20 million bags by 2020, there is need to reconsider the coffee varieties supplied to farmers.

The reasons advanced in preference for clonal cuttings are that the variety is disease resistant, long life span, big and heavy cherries as well as flowers that mature in one-and-half years.

“The truth is, this elite coffee is holding back farmers other than development the government wants to bring about,” Kiwanuka said.

Speaking to coffee farmers in Kampala recently, he argued that last year, elite coffee yield was 200kg per acre, with a corresponding gross income of sh1.2m against clonal coffee's 480kg that yielded sh2.8m.

Kabale Moses Rashid of Kangulumira Horticulture and Vanilla Co-operative Society Limited, said there is no traceability in coffee farming, saying officials can hardly tell which variety suits which area.

He said bringing varieties from different parts of the country to other areas may not help coffee marketing.

Philip Muluya aid there is no monitoring of implementation and farming practices after the Operation Wealth Creation upon issuing the elite coffee.

He added that officials usually bring the seedlings very late.

An official from Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Lillian Assimwe, said low elite coffee variety yields are also an issue of how farmers look after the coffee.

She said a coffee tree can give more than a kilogramme with proper agronomical practices.

Assimwe said the government cannot just do away with elite so fast.

Beatrice Byarugaba, the director of extension services in the agriculture ministry, told the farmers to try to find their own inputs other than waiting for the government to provide.

"Government cannot supply sufficiently to everyone. Don't wait for the government,” he said.

She urged farmers to organise producer organisations for particular commodities to ease marketing of the produce.

Byarugaba also revealed that the ministry is introducing a new variety that will combine the elite and clonal variety.


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