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Uganda

  • Written by Peter Wamboga-Mugirya

Uganda yet to benefit from new coffee varieties

Uganda is Africa's second-largest coffee producer. Photo: Monica Mark/IRIN.[KAMPALA] Coffee farmers in Uganda are missing out on improved, disease-resistant varieties developed three years ago, because of a lack of government funding to roll them out, say scientists.

New coffee varieties are resistant to fungal coffee wilt disease (CWD) — which has destroyed around 200 million plants in the country, costing US$27 million annually, according to statistics from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority.

But the Ugandan government has failed to allocate the US$1 million required to kick-start rapid production of new plantlets from resistant lines, according to scientists at the state-run Coffee Research Institute (CORI).

  • Written by IRIN pc/js/mw

Ugandan Government won't budge on food prices

Rising food prices have led to protests (file photo: Christine Amony hawks bananas in Gulu town, northern Uganda). Photo: Charles Akena/IRIN.[KAMPALA] The government of Uganda will not reduce taxes or consider food subsidies, despite an increase in violence that has led to a “national crisis”, according to the UN.

Minister of Information Kabakumba Masiko said the consistent government line since the "walk-to-work" protests began on 8 April still stood, though she maintained other measures were in place to address stability in the East African country.

“On the supply side, we are ensuring there will be enough food for our people,” she said. “The Bank of Uganda is also mopping up the excess currency that is contributing to the inflation.”

Opposition politicians and critics have blamed the lack of food and fuel reserves for contributing to skyrocketing prices.

  • Written by IRIN en/kr/mw

Uganda: Pushing HIV on to presidential candidates' agenda

President Museveni's HIV response has faced criticism in recent years. Photo: Esther Nakkazi/IRIN.[KAMPALA] Civil society activists say Uganda's presidential candidates have not placed sufficient emphasis on how they plan to tackle the epidemic should they come into office, despite rising HIV prevalence and major funding problems.

Ugandans go to the polls on 18 February. The incumbent, Yoweri Museveni, won plaudits for his efforts against the pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s - prevalence dropped from 18 percent in 1992 to 6 percent in 2000 - but his government has been criticized recently for ineffective HIV prevention campaigns, the misuse of grants from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and frequent antiretroviral (ARV) stock-outs.

  • Written by John Kasozi

GM bananas could cut blindness, anaemia in East Africa

GM bananas reach field trials for the first time in Africa. Photo: Flickr/Ian Ransley Design + Illustration.

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[KAMPALA] Bio-fortified bananas that could reduce blindness, diarrhoea and anaemia are a step closer, according to the preliminary results of a joint research project between Ugandan and Australian scientists.

Genetically modified (GM) bananas containing genes to boost their vitamin A and iron content have been planted in Australia and Uganda over the past two years (2009–2010). The first harvest from Australia shows promising results, according to the researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) in Uganda and Australia's Queensland University of Technology.

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