Plant Breeding Unit

The main goal of Plant Breeding Section is to develop cost effective and sustainable coffee production technologies that enhance yield and quality.

The Section has adopted the following objectives as means of attaining its goal;

  • To develop resistant varieties that provide sustainable management of the major coffee diseases including Coffee Berry Disease (CBD), Coffee Leaf Rust and Bacterial Blight of Coffee (BBC).
  • To improve yield and quality of the resistant selections.
  • To multiply adequate planting materials of improved varieties by seed and vegetative propagation for distribution to growers.

The CBD and rust resistant compact hybrid variety, Ruiru 11 is a product of these strategies. A second tall-statured sister variety that is also resistant to CBD and coffee leaf rust but is true breeding has been entered into a pre-release adaptation trial.

A secondary programme to breed and select high quality, productive Arabusta coffee obtained from interspecific hybridization between Arabica and Robusta coffee for production outside the Arabica zone in Kenya has been put in abeyance due to shortage of staff.