HUYE - Researchers from the Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR) have embraced tissue culture technique used to multiply hybrid disease resistant coffee seedlings.
Tissue culturing involves the production of coffee cells, tissues or organs that are isolated and put under controlled environmental condition in a laboratory.
The production of coffee seedlings is done in phases that last for a period of 10 to 12 months. According to researchers, a cubic centimetre of sterile coffee tissue gives more than 20 seedlings after the multiplication.
Currently, ISAR has the capacity to produce 50,000 seedlings within a period of 3 months, according to statistics from the research unit.
Speaking on Thursday after a one day conference to discuss the importance of the technique for farmers, Vicky Ruganzu, the assistant director in charge of research at the institute, noted that the new technique can help coffee growers to increase coffee productivity.
The conference drew representatives of coffee growers’ cooperatives countrywide, researchers from the agricultural research institute and others from the local coffee projects.
“This is a new technique of coffee multiplication we have come out with. With it, you have a high rate of multiplication of clean seedlings in a short period of time and you have plants that produce more than the conventional seedlings,” Ruganzu said.
Coffee growers have shown an interest in the technique, noting that it will help them boost their production.
“The quality of our production depends highly on the quality of our plants. These seedlings are welcome as they are disease-resistant and are able to mature in a short period of time,” said Theophile Biziyaremye of Maraba Coffee Cooperative.
Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in Rwanda and a leading foreign currency earner. Rwandan coffee is recognized internationally as one of the world’s best coffees.