Last updated on August 13th, 2020 at 10:49 am
The Tea Research Institute (TRI), since its inception in 1925, has been the only national body in Sri Lanka for generating and disseminating new technologies related to tea cultivation and processing. The TRI has always been the driving force behind the numerous successes achieved towards development of the Sri Lankan tea industry over the years. The highly competent staff of the Institute are capable of dealing with ever-changing problems of the industry as they arise.
The TRI was founded in 1925 under the Tea Research Ordinance enacted by Parliament in order to facilitate research into all matters pertaining to tea and thereby enriching the industry through a professional approach to commercial tea cultivation and processing. Mr. R G Coombe is considered as the pioneer to put forward this concept through the Planters’ Association of Ceylon.
The institute had its early beginnings in Kandy which was later moved to Nuwara Eliya along with a representative nucleus of staff who undertook research work in make-shift laboratories with very modest equipment. In December 1929, the Institute was transferred to the present location, at St. Coombs Estate in Talawakelle. In the meanwhile, the institute was able to publish the first local scientific journal on tea research, the Tea Quarterly, in 1928.
The TRI gradually spread into all tea growing areas of the country through the establishment of regional centres in Passara (Uva region) in 1931, Kottawa, (Galle District) in 1960, Kandy (Mid country region) in 1961, Ratnapura (Low country region) in 1963, Deniyaya (Matara and Hambantota Districts) in 1981 and Kalutara (Kalutara District) in 2010.
The two estates, St. Coombs in Talawakelle and St. Joachim in Ratnapura, which are operated under the TRI, are primalily meant to provide facilities to undertake research in cultivation and processing, while attempts are also made to run them as viable units on commercial lines.