The specific objectives of CIP include; (1) Selection and evaluation of clones acquired both from within and outside the country, (2) Establishment of a breeding program, (3) Identification of material which may be potential rootstocks and scions for composite plants; and (4) Developing best nursery and crop establishment practices.
Under this programme a joint clonal evaluation trial involving Tanzanian and Kenyan clones is being monitored whereby already over 10 improved clones have been identified as potential material for being released to farmers within Tanzania’s tea based farming systems. Four clones, namely 301/5, 430/63, 303/178, and 381/5, have been officially released by the National Seed Release Committee for commercial cultivation in Tanzania.
This is a huge achievement considering the fact that this is the first time ever a tea clone is released for commercial use in Tanzania.
Other areas of research on CIP include the selection of best suitable materials for composite plants. This is part of the effort to develop plants, which adapt to the changing weather and climate, particularly those adapted to drought conditions.
So far five promising high yielding scions and rootstock have been identified and earmarked for further development into composite plants. Research on the impact of field management on the cup quality of Tanzanian tea is also another on-going activity and we are looking forward to establishing a link between various agronomic practices and the cup quality of tea.