Historically tea seeds were imported into Southern Africa that belonged to either the sinensis or assamica varieties. Later on vegetatively propagated hybrid cultivars selected from F, progeny raised from a deliberate hybridization programme between selected parents with desirable characteristics on the basis of quality and yield related parameters have been used in establishing tea plantations. New high throughput screening methods including biochemical and molecular markers are being investigated to improve the selection process and eliminate genotypes with poor quality potential before the expensive mini manufacture stage. A call is made for the establishment of a Global Tea Research Project to address common problems.
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