The Sri Lanka Tea Board is currently in the process of surveying all tea plantation areas in order to create a map which can be readily accessible for clients and investors, it was revealed at the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA) AGM last week. “We are currently undertaking what your Chairman called for, which is a survey of tea land,” Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Rohan Pethiyagoda said.
CTTA Chairman Anselm Perera complained that the last survey on plantation lands was conducted in 2005. “Current data available is a little inaccurate. It is imperative that a fresh survey of plantations is undertaken immediately, so that calculations are never based on obsolete data. This is a national priority,” he said. Perera noted that a map of all tea plantations and estate names is not available now, unlike in the past.
“The latest National Atlas, the 2nd edition in 2007, only indicates the area of tea and rubber lands, without preference to such estate details,” he said. He added that when a client from Germany requested a map of Sri Lankan tea plantation areas, Perera could only supply a Survey Department map which showed a green area for tea plantations, without any details on it. Pethiyagoda said that finishing the current survey would be a tough challenge.
“It is a huge undertaking now, unlike it might have been when it was last done properly 15 years ago, because of the huge proliferation of smallholders,” he said. He noted that there are 400,000 smallholders, and most of them do not have titles to their lands, which will have to be reconciled before the survey goes forward. (CW) Pix by Samantha Perera