SIRONKO: The Bugusege Satellite Substation in the Sironko district is in an appalling state. It was built in 1927 and is the country’s research centre for Arabica coffee under the National Coffee Research Institute-NACORI.
NaCORI is one of the 16 public agricultural research institutes under the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), which is mandated to conduct and manage basic and applied research of strategic nature and national importance in all fields pertaining to coffee and cocoa.
Since its construction in 1927, the Bugusege Satellite Substation has undergone no major renovations.It operates in old structures, mainly built using iron sheets. However, the majority of the structures are dilapidated and abandoned.
The permanent structures are no longer in use because of the poor state in which they are. The institute still uses the manual coffee pulper that has existed since the establishment of the institute. According to the people in charge of the facility, the community has so far gotten into the land where the institute is.
The facility was originally situated on more than 6 hectares of land, but the community has encroached on 3 hectares. Dr. Geoffrey Arinaitwe says that nothing has been added to the institute since 1927, when the substation was built, yet it is the only Arabica coffee research unit in the country.
He says that the institute operates in a single screen house for seed production and a residential house. Arinaitwe said that they have not invested enough in the promotion of research in Arabica coffee.
Lorna Winnie Kwaka, the NaCORI farm manager, says that funding for the coffee institute has been a challenge. She says that the facility also has staffing challenges and lacks a laboratory, which forces them to conduct research at NaCORI headquarters in the Mukono district.
Patric Charles Okori, the Sironko District Production Officer, says the status of the institute has worsened over the last five years. He says that there is a need to revamp the facility with new structures and deploy additional manpower.
The Sironko District LC V Chairperson, Davidlivingstone Giruli, accuses the government of negligence, noting that the situation at the facility is pathetic. He also faults the government for neglecting Arabica coffee, yet it was at one time the country’s chief foreign earner.