The division engaged in developing improved cultivars/ planting materials to cope with the complex requirements determined by agro-ecology, biotic and abiotic stresses and consumer preferences of the end-product based on quality in the international market. In achieving the above objectives current research and development activities are being aimed at following areas:
Key Research Areas
- To develop high yielding tea cultivars incorporated with other desirable characteristics that are suitable for various tea growing agro-ecologies in Sri Lanka.
- To develop cultivars suitable for producing high value diversified tea products & specialty teas
- Maintenance of national tea germplasm and activities related to germplasm conservation, characterization and evaluation for rational utilization of germplasm in tea crop improvement program.
- Development of plant cell and tissue culture techniques to supplement the conventional tea breeding program.
- Use of cutting edge genomics/molecular biology technologies to accelerate cultivar development program
- To develop improved seeds as an alternative planting material for marginal tea growing areas
- An economically viable vegetative propagation method was discovered and established for the first time in tea in 1950s.
- Release of seminal series of TRI 2000, 3000 and 4000 cultivars aiming to increase productivity of tea plantations
- Successful integration of micropropagation technique into the conventional breeding program authenticating its practical application to reduce the time taken to develop new cultivars by 6 years
- Release of four TRI 5000 series cultivars with high productivity and quality for up country tea growing region
- Establishment of new polyclonal seed gardens with new parental combinations to cater the demand for improved seeds