Sri Lankan plantations firms call for more land security

Sept 17, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s plantations companies have called for greater security of land on which they grow export crops like tea to ensure more investment in the upkeep of estates and factory modernization. To make matters worse, compensation due on such acquisitions is not forthcoming despite repeated appeals.

Planters’ Association (PA) chairman Kavi Seneviratne said new investments were urgently required to maintain estates in good cropping conditions and to modernise tea factories to meet new food safety standards demanded by consumers.

Investments were also needed to cut costs especially of energy and to shift to renewable energy, he told the 153rd annual general meeting of the association.

“Initiatives in these areas need new investments with funds generated from within or attracted from outside perhaps even overseas.”

Investment promotion requires clear evidence of stability of business particularly land ownership and land tenure, he noted.

“Unfortunately, these are two areas in which plantations companies yet feel insecure because of various external pressures on plantation land and uncertainty in regard to implementation of the lease agreement in the true spirit of privatiz