Cocoa research was initiated at St. Augustine, Trinidad in 1930 at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (established in 1921) as the 'Cocoa Research Scheme', envisioned to be one of several Agricultural Research Stations formed to serve the various tropical regions by doing long range research not usually pursued by the agricultural departments of colonial governments.

Proposed in 1927 and approved in 1930, the 'Cocoa Research Scheme' was to be financed jointly by the governments of Ceylon, Gold Coast, Grenada, Nigeria and Trinidad and also by chocolate manufacturers, Cadbury Bros. Ltd., J.S. Fry and Sons Ltd., and Rowntree and Co.

During the ensuing decade, "Trinidad and Tobago was the most lavish patron of cocoa research and led the world in its scientific contribution to basic knowledge of the cocoa tree."

Though research in cocoa has been continuous since the inauguration of the 'Cocoa Research Scheme,' "changing economic and political conditions" some thirty years after its initiation caused the cocoa industry to suffer a decline in both quantitative and scientific output. This coincided with the 'Cocoa Research Scheme' coming under the aegis of The University of The West Indies and a redirection of its research programmes towards regional problems. In terms of decline however, the Cocoa Research Scheme, now titled the Cocoa Research Centre (previously Cocoa Research Unit - CRU) was most affected during the period 1975-80 when dwindling financial resources seriously threatened the future outlook and restricted research activities due to the forced reduction in staff numbers.

Consequently a re-structuring of the unit was undertaken and with the re-constitution of the Cocoa Research Advisory Committee, EDF funding and the aid of consultants to formulate cost-effective research programmes to solve problems of cocoa production, CRC survived the decline to become today a vibrant institution with strong international ties and an important role in contributing to current research in cocoa as well as maintaining its mandate to conserve, characterise, evaluate, utilise and distribute material from its internationally recognised germplasm collection designated the International Cocoa Germplasm, Trinidad (ICG,T).