Regional Centre, Koppa, Karnataka
Karnataka state with a total geographical area of 19.17 million ha, lies between74º-78º30’E longitude and 10º58′-18º30’N latitude. Generally, the state has a rolling surface on gentle slopes with occasional monad rocks. Plantation crops are cultivated mostly in the Malnad region which comprises Chikmagalur, Hassan and Kodagu districts and hold a unique position in the economic development of the state. Amongst the plantation crops Karnataka holds an enviable position in coffee in terms of acreage and production. Besides coffee, tea, arecanut, pepper, vanilla and cardamom are the other major crops grown in the Malnad region.
Tea plantations in Karnataka lie scattered, interspersed by coffee estates. Tea is grown at present only in those areas where coffee is not performed well. Elevation of the estates ranges between 750 and 1,000 m and the mean annual rainfall in the Chikmagalur and Kodagu zones is about 2,000 to 3,500 mm while the estates in Hassan district receive exceptionally high rainfall of around 7,500 mm. Due to the peculiar type of rainfall distribution, the estates experience prolonged dry spell, at times extending even up to 180 days. The minimum temperature does not fall below 11°C during the winter season and maximum temperature reaches as high as 38°C during April/May.
This Regional Centre was set up in 1986 at Durgadbetta, Chikmagalur District, to meet the long-felt need of the tea planters in Hassan and Chikmagalur districts. In the year 2001, the centre was shifted to its own new premises at Koppa, a little away from the previous location. With the setting up of this regional centre, all the tea growing areas in south India are adequately covered by the Tea Research Foundation with regard to extension programme. This centre advises the estates on the cultural aspects of tea husbandry with special reference to crop production and disease control. A number of experiments relating to screening of tea clones/biclonal progenies, rationalisation of soil inputs and irrigation are being conducted.