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As mentioned earlier, Dr. Christie was the first to experiment with the growing of tea plants in the Nilgiris in 1832 and some of his plants were distributed to various parts of the Nilgiri hills for trial. In 1834 a few plants grown from the seeds brought from China were again planted in these hills. The earliest record of commercial planting in Kerala was in Peermade during 1875. The development of Kanan Devan Hills by James Finlay and Co. in 1878 with tea as an exclusive crop is a landmark in the history of tea planting in this part of the country. Soon, tea cultivation caught up in Wayanad and by 1889 planting was taken up on a large scale in the district. In the Anamallais (Coimbatore Dist.), the actual opening of tea estates was around 1897. Karnataka came into the tea map, rather recently.

The widespread occurrence of the leaf rust (Hemilia vastatrix Berk & Br.) of coffee and the consequent decline of the coffee industry was a major factor responsible for the extensive planting of tea in south India. The tea growing tracks of south India, extending along the Western Ghats, vary in their elevation from 300 to 2,300 m above MSL and experience an annual rainfall ranging from 90-750 cm. These plantations, with their adjoining forest ecosystem contribute greatly to the maintenance of terrestrial ecology by providing extensive land cover and minimizing soil erosion.

Tea belongs to the family Camelliaceae and all the cultivated tea plants belong to two distinct species, viz., Camellia sinensis (L). O. Kuntze, the short leaved ‘China’ plants and Camellia assamica (Masters) Wight, the broad leaved ‘Assam’ plants. The ‘Cambod’ variety, a subspecies of the latter, is named C. assamica lasiocalyx (Planchon exWatt) Wight. The ‘China’, ‘Assam’ and ‘Cambod’ and a large number of their hybrids are seen in many tea fields. It is believed that many wild species of teas have also contributed to the present day hybrid population of cultivated tea plants.

Tea prefers a warm humid climate, well distributed rainfall and long sunshine days. A soil pH below 6.0 is essential for establishing tea successfully and moderately good tea can be grown on soils with pH values between 4.5 and 5.5. Under natural conditions, this plant grows to a small tree but brought into a bush form by pruning at regular intervals for the convenience of plucking and for harvesting optimum vegetative growth.

Tea Growing Areas in south India
1 Wayanad (Kerala)
2 The Nilgiris (Tamil Nadu)
3 The Anamallais (Coimbatore District, Tamil Nadu)
4 Nelliampathy (Palghat, Kerala)
5 High Range (Iddukki District, Kerala)
6 Vandiperiyar and Peermade (Iddukki District, Kerala)
7 High Wavys (Madurai District, Tamil Nadu)
8 Trivandrum (Kerala)
9 Singampatty (Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu)
10 Coorg (Karnataka)
11 Hassan (Karnataka)
12 Chikmagalur (Karnataka)

News & Events

  • Dr. C.S. Venkata Ram Memorial Annual Tea Colloquium

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  • Residue analysis in other crops


    The Pesticide Residue Division is equipped with state-of-art instruments viz., Gas Chromatograph, High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, GCMS, Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer, etc., Our lab is GLP certified by National GLP Compliance Monitoring Authority, Govt. of India for the execution of Pesticide Residue Studies. We are accredited…

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  • Vacancy 2020

    01/01/2020 @ 12:20 pm

    Advertisement for the post of Assistants UPASI Tea Research Foundation is seeking applications from eligible candidates with dynamic, energetic and innovative qualities for the following vacant positions at UPASI Tea Research Institute, Valparai. The interested candidates are requested to send their application with a brief…

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  • Monthly circular – April 2014


       Monthly Circular April -2014  WEATHER Weather data recorded in March 2014 at the TRF observatory are given below, along with the corresponding figures for March 2013. Year Total Rainfall mm Mean Sunshine hr/day Mean Temperature ° C Mean Relative Humidity % at Mean Evaporation…

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  • Quotations & Tenders


    14-May-2019 Sealed quotations are invited from the concerned suppliers for the following lab instrument with specifications. The quotations may be sent to the Director, UPASI Tea Research Foundation – Tea Research Institute, Nirar Dam P.O. Valparai 642 127 to reach on or before 31st May…

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  • Publications


    Ajaikumar, S., Siby Mathew, R. Raj Kumar and P. Mohan Kumar (2014). Mechanical harvesting in tea: A case study of Pasuparai estate. Journal of Plantation Crops. 42(2): 201-214. Ajay, D. and Baby, U.I. 2010. Induction of systemic resistance to Exobasidium vexans in tea through SAR…

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  • Latest


    The principal landmark in the history of tea research in south India, was the establishment of a Tea Experimental Station in Gudalur in 1926. During the last seven and half decades, this research organisation. Now known as the UPASI Tea Research Foundation (UPASI TRF), had…

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  • Publications and Library


    Annual Report is the one among the major publications of UPASI TRF. Annual report of each year is released by September of the following year. Other publications include Research Highlights and half yearly Newsletters. The Bulletin of UPASI TRF is an occasional publication. The Handbook…

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Conferences Seminars


    DATE:  10-12 December 2014

    PLACE:  Kozhikode

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  • Research Extension Meeting

    DATE:  06-08 May 2013

    PLACE:  Valparai

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    DATE:   2013


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  • Dr.C.S. Venkata Ram Annual Tea Colloquium

    DATE:  1 August 2013


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    DATE:  28/04/2012


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    DATE:  2001

    PLACE:  Chennai

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    DATE:  2014


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    DATE:  September 2013

    PLACE:  Coonoor

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Research Activities

  • Pesticide Residue

    Of late, considering the constant usage of pesticides and to monitor the residues in the final produce, a well equipped test facility was established at UPASI TRI in 1994. The pesticide residue laboratory is accredited by National Accreditation Board for testing and calibration Laboratories (NABL)…

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  • Botany

    The Tea Research Institute at Valparai has seven divisions namely Botany, Soil Chemistry, Entomology, Pesticide Residue, Plant Pathology & Microbiology, Plant Physiology & Biotechnology and Tea Technology. Botany Research activities of Botany Division include plant improvement, cultivation practices and weed research. Plant improvement programme was…

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  • Soil Chemistry

    Chemistry Division is involved in research pertaining to soil-plant nutrients of tea besides extending analytical service to the industry. The research activities include investigations on physico-chemical properties of soil, soil-plant interactions, response of tea to major, secondary and micronutrients and their interactions. The research work…

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  • Entomology

    Entomology Division involve in basic and applied aspects of insect pests, particularly, biology, ecology and evolving control measures. The division evolved and recommended physical, chemical and biological method of tea pests control. In the past, extensive studies on bioecology, crop loss due to major pests…

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  • Pathology & Microbiology

    In the division of Plant Pathology & Microbiology, research is carried out on diseases of tea and biofertilizers. Among the tea diseases, blister blight is the most important leaf disease caused by the pathogen, Exobasidium vexans affecting the tender harvestable shoots of tea resulting in…

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  • Physiology & Biotechnology

    Plant Physiology Division was established in 1980 which has been primarily concentrated on crop productivity. The division strives for excellence in applied research in tea productivity and bush health besides biotechnological studies. The research undertaken extends over a wide range of research programmes having collaborative…

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  • Tea Technology

    Besides offering the analytical services and involving in inter laboratory ring test to validate the test methods, Tea Technology Division is concerned about quality of final produce in accordance with PFA Act requirements, storage studies, value added products and manufacturing aspects. The laboratory has been…

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