New model to take the ramp on plantations
The plantation industry is currently looking at a proposal to fashion out a new model for the tea estates run by the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) through a sub lease of lands to private factory owners.
All stakeholders involved in the process had a discussion on Thursday at the Plantation Industries Ministry headed by Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake and Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman (SLTB) Lucille Wijewardena. Others present were the CEOs of the RPCs and the Sri Lanka Private Tea Factory Owners Association (SLPTFOA) representatives.
SLTB Chairman Wijewardena said that this proposal will benefit the industry since they are currently short of good quality green leaf.
He pointed out that this proposal was mooted for the first time and the SLTB will facilitate in identifying the land and the Treasury would work out a process on how it would be leased out.
They were currently looking at targeting a minimum of 1000 acres with about 50 acres to be allocated per factory, he said.
The factories would then hire village workers to be employed on the estates that would ensure adequate replanting is carried out on the estates which Mr. Wijewardena noted the RPCs were unable to carry out due to limitations of lack of finances and workers.
During the meeting the issue of under-utilised lands owned by RPCs was discussed with SLPTFOA President Harith Ranasinghe noting that it could be taken over in part by some of the tea factory owners to replant and increase the produce.
“We proposed that there are so many abandoned lands that they have neglected without replanting and we requested to give it to us and the smallholders in those areas on a sub lease basis at least for 50 years,” he said.
While some factory owners requested the sub leasing of about 50 acres of land from the RPCs in the low grown regions, others also proposed for even five acre blocks to be allocated to smallholders through the factory owners for cultivation, Mr. Ranasinghe explained.
Minister Dissanayake is said to have commended the proposal and the factory owners had been asked to come up with a proper proposal that would be facilitated by the ministry.
Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Roshan Rajadurai, who was present at the meeting, told the Business Times that while some companies were looking at this proposal positively, others had already worked out plans for their estates.
He noted that this proposal is still at a preliminary stage and pointed out that it was likely to be carried out in the form of either a sub lease or a partnership.
Depending on the available capacity to plant they were looking at giving out at least 50 acres to the factory owners that would prove beneficial.
Mr. Rajadurai explained that there are lots of lands in the low country and naturally over time it would be good to sub lease these lands in a bid to make them more profitable.
Source - http://www.sundaytimes.lk/190324/business-times/new-model-to-take-the-ramp-on-plantations-341712.html?fbclid=IwAR2R1mZRYfI7_S7Ji3KwE13JVpaci865jENTq8zu4yr5SWI9enRT9bMvpU8