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TEA RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

Project title: Improvement of tea production and productivity in Uganda

Introduction

Tea is Uganda’s third most important export earner after coffee and fish. The current production in the country is 280,250 tons of green leaf per year, earning 104 million USD to the economy. Currently, average yield is 5,178 Kgs of green leaf tea per ha/year, which generates UGX 2,226,540 for smallholder farmers.There are 278 tea clones at Rwebitaba, of which 30 clones showed yield potential of over 19,000 Kg of green leaf tea/ha/year. In Uganda, tea clones are affected by pests and diseases. Tea clones such as 161/411 and 6/58 are susceptible to Xylaria disease. Studies indicate that over 70% of young tea leaves are infested by leaf miners. Soil erosion and decline in soil fertility affect tea production in Uganda. Low tea yields are also attributed to lack of high yielding clones and poor agronomic practices.The project therefore aims at improving tea production and productivity in the country.

Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Rwebitaba ZARDI) is one of the Public Agriculture Research Institutes under the regulation of the National Agricultural Research Organization.

Reference to earlier work

Current average yield for smallholder farmers in Uganda is 5,178 Kgs of green leaf tea per ha/year, which generates UGX 2,226,540. Tea clones yield higher than seedling tea. However, majority of the materials planted in Uganda are seedlings. Most of the tea clones are susceptible to red spider mites and Xylaria disease. It has been observed that over 33% of clone 6/58 and 20% of 161/411 at Rwebitaba have been destroyed by Xylaria.Pest infestation affects the flavour of made tea. Tea stands in fields with no crop rotation are affected by degradation of soil environment and health of the plants.

Overall objective

The overall objective of the project is to improve tea production and productivity in Uganda


    Specific Objectives:

  • To identify best performing tea clones
  • To develop integrated tea management technologies
  • To enhance availability and access to improved planting materials