Rwanda Agricultural Research Institute (ISAR), a government research arm is set to launch a coffee tissue culture laboratory at ISAR, Rubona station in Huye, today.
“This laboratory was purposely established for mass production of coffee seedlings and it will help boost the coffee industry through increased productivity of clean plants,” said Agnes Karibata, the Minister for Agriculture.
With more seedlings produced annually, the facility will help address a decrease in coffee production. The country is partly not meeting coffee production targets as a result of very old coffee trees and a good deal of farms whose age is above the economic production.
In terms of quality and quantity, the programme worth EUR 750 000 (Rwf558m), targets the initial production of 500,000 healthy coffee plantlets per year.
The plantlets will have high yield potential varieties for increased farm productivity and the quantity is projected to increase depending on demand.
In collaboration with OCIR Café, one of the elite coffee varieties, the lab has been equipped with cutting-edge bio-technology equipment for tissue culture work and two green houses for weaning and dissemination.
Just like other Tissue Culture Laboratories in the region, Rubona will be self-financing as it continues to function.
Bio-technology offers alternative strategies for generating new and improved coffee varieties, including those resistant to environmental extremes, pests, and diseases, low in caffeine, and with uniform fruit maturation.
A high quantity and quality production of coffee seeds will not only therefore improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers, but it will also significantly contribute to economic development through increased exports.