Maskeliya Plantations PLC estates owned by Richard Pieris Group of Companies and five of its smallholders that supply green leaf to manufacture in the three Maskeliya Plantation PLC factories have obtained the Rainforest Alliance Certificate.
The estates that obtained the certificate are Laxapana Estate-Maskeliya, Moray Estate-Maskeliya, Hapugastenna Estate-Maskeliya, Moussakellie Estate-Maskeliya, Brownlow Estate-Maskeliya, Glentilt Estate-Maskeliya, Glenugie (Deeside) Estate-Maskeliya, Mocha Estate-Maskeliya, Strathspey Esate-Upcot, St. Clair Estate-Talawakelle, Talawakelle Estate-Talawakelle, Troup Estate-Talawakelle and Ferham Estate-Talawakelle.
The five smallholders -- Dotella Estate, Bittern Estate, Peakfield (ADCG) Estate, Peakfield (ADCG), Peakfield – Block 2 Estate, situated in and around Maskeliya, which supply leaf to Glentilt Estate, Laxapana Estate and Moray Estate, too obtained the Rainforest Alliance Certificate along with the Maskeliya Plantations PLC estates. These estates are situated in three different planting and agro climatic regions, namely Maskeliya, Upcot and Talawakelle.
This is the first time in Sri Lanka a Rainforest Alliance (RA) – Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) Group Certificate was obtained by such a large number of estates together with the bought leaf suppliers.
The certification is an internationally recognized integrated environmental, social and ethical compliance programme. Consistent performance and results achieved through the implementation of best environmental and biodiversity conservation and management practices under this programme have greatly contributed towards securing this credential.
These massages were passed on to the villages in and around the estates, small vegetable farmers, teachers and the students of the main government schools in the Maskeliya, Upcot and Talawakelle areas.
When this programme was commenced, the government organisations such as the Central Environmental Authority in Kandy, environmental officer attached to the Divisional Secretary’s offices, medical officer of health, food and drugs inspector, the Grama Niladharies of the area, district and regional forest officers and the district factory inspection engineer of the Central Province, labour office and fertilizer and chemical suppliers (CIC) too contributed their services.
During the process of this programme, workshops and awareness programmes were undertaken to educate on labour laws, fauna-flora, communicable diseases, food and drugs act, usage of the pesticides, first-aid programmes, medical check-ups, environment law, etc.
In addition to this, Maskeliya Plantations PLC estates were able to obtain the following certificates: Kaizen Award, National Safety Award, Taiki Akimoto 5S’, ISO 9001 Certification (International Standards Organisation), ISO 22000 – 2005 (International Standards Organisation), HACCP Certification (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), National Safety Award 2006 - Plantation Sector, ETP – (Ethical Tea Partnership), FLO (Fairtrade Labelling organization), Ceylon Tea Quality Certificate (CQC) awarded by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Cleaner Production Productivity, Green Award and Environmental Authority License.
Further, Maskeliya Plantations PLC Managing Director Sunil Poholiyadde is making arrangements to obtain the Rainforest Alliance Group Certification for the other two plantation companies, namely Kegalle Plantations PLC and Namunukulla Plantations PLC, which too come under his purview.
This is going to be the future trend in selling Sri Lanka teas and it is an international tea buyers’ requirement too.