Sri Lanka tea estate firm says ‘out grower’ model boosts production

Dec 20, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Kahawatta Plantations Plc, has increased production and boosted employee incomes by trying out an ‘out grower’ model of allowing workers to farm tea on estate land on their spare time. The statement said workers go to work in gem pits and other work and only about 40 percent of the people registered actually turn up for work. At one time this had resulted in about 100 hectares being kept bare.

But over the past eight years, since the scheme was put into place, all land has been cultivated.

Godage said under the traditional model about 900 employees were needed to operate an estate of that size. But now 500 workers were enough and they were earning more money.

The firm said yields had improved, but did not elaborate on specifics.

Kahawatte Plantations grows tea, cinnamon and rubber. Sri Lanka’s Planters’ Association which represents about two dozen privately managed estates says about 60 percent of Endana Estate in Kahawatte Plantations, or 250 hectares, are under the scheme.

“We enter into outgrower arrangements with our employees by giving them about 1,000 1,200 bushes of tea, to look after,” Sujeewa Godage, a former manager of Endana Estate, who now he