Pepper, a crucial commodity in the Ugandan economy, has been a cornerstone of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings. The export prices of pepper from Uganda have experienced fluctuations, ranging from 3.62 to 5.76 US dollars per kilogram over the past five years. Recognizing the significance of this crop, Makerere University’s Research and Graduate Training agenda has taken a bold step forward with the launch of the MaRCCI Pepper Improvement Program.

Fuelling Research-led Innovation

The MaRCCI pepper program aligns seamlessly with Makerere University’s commitment to intensifying research and graduate training. This innovative platform aims to address the challenges posed by volatile pepper prices by advancing breeding, biotechnology, and seed science through cutting-edge research.

Empowering Future Experts

A unique aspect of the MaRCCI pepper improvement program is its contribution to graduate education. It provides an exceptional opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral scientists to specialize in modern breeding techniques. These students can delve into various aspects of pepper variety development, contributing to both academic excellence and the practical needs of the agricultural sector.

A nursery of pepper seedlings being prepared for planting at MaRCCI


MaRCCI has assembled an extensive collection of pepper germplasm, comprising over 600 lines of Capsicum or Primenta. Safely stored in MaRCCI GenBanks, this germplasm serves as the foundation for a dynamic pepper improvement and breeding program. The goal is to develop suitable and adaptable pepper varieties catering to diverse market segments.

Several pepper lines are currently under evaluation, with plans to breed them into high-yield and nutritious varieties tailored to the Ugandan and regional environments. This germplasm base material boasts diversity in terms of color, growth habit/performance, and taste, catering to the unique preferences of different market segments.

As the pepper lines reach maturity, MaRCCI aims to make them available to farming communities and the export market. This holistic approach not only contributes to the economic prosperity of Uganda but also strengthens the resilience of the agricultural sector.

Building for the Future

The MaRCCI Pepper Improvement Program is a testament to Makerere University’s commitment to building a sustainable and resilient future. By combining research-led initiatives, graduate education, and community outreach, MaRCCI is at the forefront of fostering innovation in the agricultural landscape.