Researchers to study potato taste in East African coffee

Joseph Bigirimana is the winner of the $20,000 Potato Taste Challenge Prize, which will be used to test whether controlling the antestia bug will reduce potato taste in East African coffee. Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), a US non-profit organisation, in partnership with the Alliance for Coffee Excellence (ACE) designed the Potato Taste Challenge Prize to support an innovative technology to detect or mitigate potato taste. A number of ACE member coffee companies donated money to the prize, with an international technical review committee deciding on the recipient. Bigirimana’s proposal focuses on studying the effects of pyrethroid organic pesticide on antestia bugs, and its subsequent effects on potato taste. Bigirimana will use baseline and post-intervention cuppings to provide evidence of potato taste prevention. If successful, this could provide a way to mitigate potato taste through antestia control measures. ACE and GKI will support the project’s implementation and will monitor and evaluate the results. GKI will also connect Bigirimana’s team with other initiatives working on eliminating potato taste. Bigirimana and partners Dr. Dick Walyaro and Dr. Theodore Aswiimwe will be based at the Rwandan government’s agricultural research institute.

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