For the first time ever in Tanzanian history, the Tea Research Institute of Tanzania (TRIT) has managed to release four new clones for commercial production in the country. This follows five years of collaborative work with the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) facilitated through an MoU between the two sister institutions, which allowed for exchange of genetic materials for research purposes. As part of this MoU the two parties agreed to exchange developed technologies on tea crop resulting to exchange and subsequent field testing across the two countries of about 10 and 20 improved tea clones from TRIT and TRFK, respectively way back in 2005.
In January 2012 after intensive field assessment, four superior tea clones were officially recommended for commercial use. The clones include: TRFK 301/5, TRFK 303/178, TRFK 430/63 and TRFK 381/5. These clones were subjected to rigorous testing, which are mandatory before a variety is registered in Tanzania They were passed and released for commercial production in Tanzania.
TRIT is working on the modalities that will allow the commercialisation of these materials in consultation with various stakeholders including TRFK who are the original breeders of these materials. We hope that with availability of superior clones the Tanzanian tea industry will benefit in terms of quality improvement and also able to deal with the threat of climate change through the use of drought tolerant varieties.