The Tea Research Institute (TRI) was first established in 1925 as an arm of the Planters’ Association of Ceylon, in order to enrich the Tea industry through professional research findings.
The Institute had its early beginnings in the Nuwara Eliya town with a representative nucleus of staff undertaking research in make-shift laboratories with very modest equipment and then transferred to the present location, the St. Coombs Estate in Talawakelle, in December 1929.
Gradually, the TRI spread into all tea growing areas of the country by establishing regional centers in Passara (Uva region), Kandy (Mid country region), Ratnapura (Low country region), Galle (Galle District), and Deniyaya (Matara and Hambantota districts). The two estates, St. Coombs in Talawakelle and St. Joachim in Ratnapura, which are operated under TRI, provide facilities to undertake research in cultivation and processing while making some earnings to the institute.
Tea Research Board
The TRI is governed by the Tea Research Board of Sri Lanka which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Plantations Industries. The Tea Research Board consists of scholars in the fields of research, management and economics.
The Tea Research Institute, Low country station, Ratnapura was established in 1963 at St. Joachim Estate, Ratnapura to cater to the technological and extension needs of tea growers in the low country tea planting districts representing about 50% of the total extent of tea lands in the island. Its advisory and extension services cover three major tea growing districts viz. Ratnapura, Kalutara and Kegalle with over 150,000 smallholdings. Presently, the TRI Low country station has 4 arms of research divisions namely, Agronomy, Plant Breeding, Entomology and Technology and an Advisory and Extension section with 23 staff members in 2010.
A Majority of the technical staff at the TRI have earned graduate and post-graduate qualifications. The administration section with 18 clerical and allied staff members provides support services to carry out research, advisory and extension program of the institute.
The TRI, Low country station is equipped with basic laboratory and related facilities for scientific research and also features audio-visual equipment and seminar halls for extension and farmer training programs.