Tea Research Institute

 

About the Institute
The Tea Research Institute (TRI), is one the research institutes created under the KALR Act of 2013. It was established to replace the former Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) to contribute to the overall production, processing and marketing of tea.  Research on tea was introduced in Kenya in 1949 by Brooke Bond through their company known as African Tea Holding limited. It later evolved to Tea Research Institute of East Africa (TRIEA) in 1951. Following the breakup of the East African community in 1977, TRIEA wound up and the government established the TRFK in 1980. The challenges facing Keny's tea industry is to improve continually along the value chain in order to remain globally competitive.

The Institute has developed over 914 improved clones, out of which 51 clones have been selected for consistent superiority in yield and quality and released for commercial exploitation by both smallholder and large estate growers.  Thirteen of these clones yield between 5,000 and 8,000 kg of processed tea per hectare per year.  These yield levels are some of the highest in the world and are three times the average yields of unimproved tea varieties.

The Tea Research Institute has reoriented its research agenda to focus more on tea products diversification, value addition and Tea and health. Tea Research Institute has developed a new tea clone ("Purple tea") rich in a pigment called anthocyanin widely used for the manufacturing of fast moving consumer goods such as soaps, shampoo and detergents. Research is currently assessing the potential health benefits relating to anti-inflammatory and anti-parasite properties some of which may be used to protect the liver from damage.

Towards addressing issues on climate change and to enable the tea industry to survive the expected negative impacts, Tea Research Institute is developing new technologies to mitigate the effects, including environmental conservation efforts and development of new tea varieties resistant to negative impacts of climate change as well as tea management technologies that mitigate against climate change.

Location
The Institute is located in Kericho County about 12 km from Kericho town along Kericho-Nakuru Road. The TRI occupies 160 ha of land to the East of Mau forest.

Mandate
The Tea Research Institute focuses on development of improved clones, appropriate technologies for improvement of yield (quantity of green tea leaf/made tea per hectare) and quality of tea products. In addition the Institute will:

1. Organize, design and carry out on-station and on-farm tea research in their respective sectors of agricultural research in accordance with current policies and priorities
2. Identify production, policy, market, processing and utilisation constraints the tea sub sector, and plan short and long-term research programmes
3. Identify and disseminate, in collaboration with other relevant agencies, appropriate systems of mechanization and technology, options to improve agricultural production and provide answers to foreseeable problems facing the tea production
4. Collaborate with the extension and other partner organizations to disseminate research results and technologies
5. Establish and maintain regular contact with regional and international agricultural research centres to ensure the rapid introduction, evaluation and use of tea improved technology beneficial to the country
6. Conduct, in association with the secretariat, annual reviews of research results and modify research programmes as appropriate
7. Promote demand-driven participatory research, planning and priority setting

Contacts
Institute Director,
Tea Research Institute,
Off Kericho-Nakuru Road,
P.O Box 820-20200, Kericho, Kenya.
Tel.: +254-52-20598, 20599, +254-722-209915
Fax: +254-52-20575
Email: Director.tri@kalro.org

Centres
Kericho, Kangaita