Jan 20, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s plantation companies are in crisis with high costs and falling commodity prices that only greater labour and land productivity can overcome, an official said. The island 150-year-old plantation industry needs to rationalize land and labour utilization and management, said Anura Ekanayake, a former Director of Planning at the Ministry of Plantation Industries and past chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) need to change traditional land and labour use and management models to enable them to ride out the current tea industry crisis.
Sri Lanka needs to facilitate greater non-plantation employment opportunities for plantation populations, to reduce production costs of plantation companies,” Ekanayake was quoted as saying in a statement.
“Land use diversification, into areas such as forestry cultivation, where tea cannot be cultivated, should also be encouraged, to maximize plantation industry land productivity, he said.
Plantation populations are generally seen as fixed labour resources of estates, and estates are obliged to employ all estate residents of working age seeking employment.