Sri Lanka plantations facing labour shortages

Sept 14, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s large plantations, especially those growing tea, are facing labour shortages, with young people moving out to cities in search of other jobs, a senior industry official said. During feudal and European colonial times Sri Lanka had to import labour from India for many activities ranging from tapping toddy, peeling cinnamon and to later growing coffee and tea.

Sri Lanka has had comparatively higher living standards and a more dynamic economy from the times of its ancient kings as the island was located in a hub of a vast trading network in the so-called ‘silk route of the sea’.

It connected China, Vietnam (Champa), Javanese and Sumatran thalassocracies, Thailand (Pattaya) and Eastern India via Sri Lanka to the Persian Sassanid Empire and later Arabia.

Critics say unemployed rose after the end of British rule when trade liberties were restricted, taxes were raised, state interventions and currency depreciation became the norm as tools of the Western European nation-state including a legislating parliament was used against the people.

“The shortage of workers to undertake regular agricultural operations and development programs especially in tea plantations has