Green Fingers

Feb. 13 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Richard Pieris Group, owners of the ‘Arpico’ brand, are ploughing Rs. 150 million to generate energy off trees, a top official said. The Group’s core strengths lie in rubber and rubber products, tyres, plastics, retailing and plantations, which includes tea. Richard Pieris recently extended their reach into the real estate sector.

The 1.5 megawatt dendro power plant will come up in Bandarawela, with technical expertise from Topec, of the Netherlands.

“Dendro power is eco friendly source of energy and has a lot of potential for employment generation in rural hamlets, that is why we are getting into it,” the Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Pravir Samarasinghe told LBO recently.

The dendro power project will get its source of energy through the gliricidia tree, which usually grows wild and on hilly slopes to help bind the soil.

Richard Pieris plans to grow 500 hectares of gliricidia trees, of which 300 hectares of raw forest is currently being harvested. The balance 200 hectares is expected to be planted within the next six months.

A gliricidia tree usually takes about one and a half years to mature. Thereafter