Easter hails triumph of Life and Human Liberation
By Rev. Fr. Leopold Ratnasekera OMI.
OMI Seminary, Ampitiya
Easter, the most significant Christian festival, heralds a message of life and brings with it the good news of human liberation, for in Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is risen from the darkness of the grave of death and burial, we are treated to the wonderful invitation to embrace and defend life as well as be involved in every way possible in bringing true freedom to our fellow human beings while doing our utmost to set them free from all chains of slavery that rob them of their human dignity and fundamental God-given rights. Prosperity in life and an environment of freedom bring to birth a wonderful world-society where people live in safety, security and peace, with solidarity, dialogue, goodwill, sharing, collaboration, trust and confidence in one another reinforcing the sense of humanity and thus enabling nations to be at peace and truly enjoy the bounty of life’s blessings.
Easter ushers in a new era
The Risen Lord empowered his disciples to go and teach all nations to observe whatever he has taught them assuring them of his unfailing presence accompanying them till the end of the world. It was a mandate permanently valid, meant to reach people of all cultures, civilizations, ethnicities and tongues. For 20 long centuries of the Christian era, this Good news of life and freedom had been proclaimed in cities, towns and villages, to the rich and the poor alike, to those of higher and lower social status as well to kings and governments, to those in seats of power and those governed, with the sole purpose of transforming the world into an oasis of life and fashioning a civilization of love. In the first five centuries of Christianity in addition to the Christian message taking root in the great middle-eastern world covering the cities of Athens, Corinth, etc., it had also reached imperial Rome and all colonial territories of its mighty empire. It preached a call for a reconciliation of Jews and the non-Jewish gentiles transcending differences of religion, race, language, social class, ethnicity and even gender. The Bible attests that Jesus of Nazareth, crucified and Risen at Easter has been given a Name that is above every other name, one of cosmic significance, before whom all in the heavens, the earth and under the earth have to go on bended knee proclaiming him to be the sovereign “Lord”.
Christianity renewed and
In the name of this humble but Eternal Galilean teacher, his disciples were ready even to lay down their lives whilst refusing to worship Caesar as a God or the bevy of other pagan gods of the infamous Roman pantheon decreed by the Emperor. The history of the earliest persecutions records the valiant hundreds of the first martyrs who were killed in the amphitheater of the Coliseum. Then came the medieval ages when the Church enjoyed both temporal and spiritual power and at times consorted with the secular power of the kings and emperors including the era of Napoleon the Great. But soon this socio-political setting was to disappear with the Church giving up temporal power and holding on only to authority in spiritual matters. It is in this context we have to see the evolution and growth of the Church in various continents, strikimg first of all strong bases in Europe. Eventually with some countries developing in modern navigation and armory, there was the emergence of the European colonial powers such as England, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Belgium and Spain.
With their colonial expansion reinforced earlier by the exploratory voyages of Marco Polo and Vasco di Gama, Christianity too entered non-European, American, Asian and African countries that were colonized. Since the middle of the 19th century, after a period of being incubated in its colonial forms, Christianity embarked on a process of inculturation of its faith-expressions mainly in the field of doctrine and worship and with the oncoming tide of the social trends of liberation and struggles for freedom, got involved even in the work of human liberation stirred up by new theological trends such as Theology of Liberation and its own charter on Human Rights. Today, the Christianity is heavily involved in the work of social justice and environmental issues, that of human rights and rights of workers. It opposed heavily the dehumanizing trends that came with the industrial revolution which canonized the machine over human labor as well as extreme social evils followed by enlightenment and the French revolution.
Christianity: a catalyst for
At this historical moment in the history of Christianity, the challenge is to on the one hand, defend in partnership with all people of goodwill, the perennial spiritual values over against the destructive effects of the culture of secularism and consumerism and on the other hand, condemn a capitalism which relentlessly is oriented towards commodities and profit. It means taking head on an economic system that is without a soul where human beings and their labor are exploited to the full by all liberal systems of thought and ideologies. Thus, whilst defending its own proper rights to exist and operate as one of the living religious traditions world-wide, there is need to work in dialogue with other world religions to preserve the sense of the sacred not being either displaced, devalued or weakened by secular trends infiltrating into modern life-styles. It is in this spirit that Christians are engaged today in the work of promoting democratic freedoms and focusing on environmental issues that will make the earth and its resources secure without being abused. This engagement with the world makes it become the voice of the voiceless: the poor, the marginalized, the exploited and the migrants seeking greener pastures displaced from their lands of birth..
This social apostolate is seen more as inspired by religious and spiritual ideals than just simply as humanitarian or philanthropic endeavors. Medical institutions, educational projects, homes for the sick, elderly and the orphans and differently abled are being run globally motivated by this ideal of the religions at the service of the people, thus going beyond the rites and rituals enacted in churches and temples and other religious centers. In imitation of Christ crucified, the Churches share in the human pain of people across the world resulting in natural and man-made disasters, plagues and epidemics that strike them, injustices that occur coming from bribery and corruption in high places and abuse of authority in dictatorships of political rule. Enabling all people, especially the poor and the marginalized to achieve fullness of life remains the undisputable missionary ideal of the Church’s so-called social work. In dialogue with other world-wide organizations, the Pontifical Council for Justice, Peace and integrity of Creation of the Vatican and the World Council of Churches (WCC) are engaged in massive projects for human development in the areas of education, health and human rights.
Celebrating Easter in real life means therefore engaging in the struggle of life against death-dealing forces and of good against evil. The triumph of a culture of life against the culture of death and that of goodness and truth over evil and falsehood, authenticity over hypocrisy, responsibility over callousness, maturity over superficiality, etc., would pave the wonderful paths to a civilization of love and trust, which can only be the unshakable foundations of a new world that we all dream of. The Risen Lord brought the greeting of peace driving out fear, doubt and anxiety in his disciples for the crucifixion was not to be end of the Jesus-story. Even at this time of the global crisis triggered by the corona killer-virus, the Risen Christ is there like at the pool of Siloam in Jerusalem’s temple precincts of his day, to stir the waters of healing for the world struggling to survive this deadly pandemic. By far, the most awesome, incredible and over-powering event of the Resurrection burst forth with new springs of hope and life. Christianity, in which the Risen Lord is still active in history and assisting at the gradual evolving of a new creation, a new heaven and a new earth, holds inspiration for life and love which in the finally analysis, despite its moments of pain and trial, make life worth living. Easter is victory over death. The spirit of Easter will inspire all to do away with death-dealing factors that hurt and empower the search for the springs of life.
A solution to problem of extra heavy school bags
By Anton Peiris
B.Sc. (Ceylon), PGCE (Kenya), M.Sc. (London), DAES (York) and Emeritus Coordinator, International Baccalaureate, Switzerland.
(‘Reduce O/LevelSTRESS’ – continued)
Extra Heavy Schoolbags carried by school children and the setting of homework
Dr. B.J.C. Perera (Specialist Consultant Paediatrician) has said, “Students, even little children, are forced to carry large numbers of books in their schoolbags, to and from school, every day. The deleterious health effects of carrying improperly loaded and very heavy school bags are another associated problem”. It is not difficult to solve this problem.
(i) Install a set of lockers (with at least one shelf inside) preferably in close proximity to the classrooms. Lockers can be made of wood or metal, approximately 20 X 15 X 15 inches or 30 X 10 X 15 inches. i.e. about 4500 cubic inches per student. Allocate a Locker to each student.
(ii) The teachers should set Homework a maximum of twice per week (i.e. 2 X 20 minutes per week) in mathematics and only once per week (maximum of 30 minutes) in any other subject , making sure that a student gets no more than a total of approximately one hour of homework per day, Some subjects require homework only once a fortnight.
Some subjects do not require any homework at all. This can be done if the Deputy School Principal and the Class Teacher get together and use their ingenuity to produce a practical Home-Work Timetable for the class that allows the setting of homework only for a maximum of two subjects per day.
Here’s the underlying principle behind this: If a teacher does a good job of teaching in class and if he makes the students work in class, then the students need very little or no homework at all.
During my 40 years as an O/Level mathematics teacher, I have given them only 20 minutes of homework per night twice a week and sometimes no homework at all. They did well in their O/Level mathematics exam because the bulk of the work was done in class during the five years of preparation for the O/Level exams. I taught them well and I made them work maths problems in class. Some of them obtained As (distinctions) in mathematics.
There should be no homework set in any subject for the weekend. The students will then have time to play, to climb a tree, to go swimming, to go on trips with their parents, to devote some time for their extra-curricular activities (CAS), attend Daham Paasela, etc., during the weekends.
The foregoing is for Grades 6 – 11 only. (Obviously, there should be some homework set for the weekend for GCE A/L students).
If the schools adhere to the Homework Timetable given above, then the students in Grades 6 – 11 will be able to leave more than half of their text books in their Lockers every day because homework has been set only in one or two subjects per day. The weight of the schoolbag will be reduced automatically by more than 50%. They will be able to keep a few other things (e. g. swimming trunk, umbrella) also in their lockers.
If that method of allocation of homework and the use of lockers works well in Europe, the UK, Australia and Canada, why not in Sri Lanka?
Lockers should have padlocks because, when they lose their locker key, the padlock can be cut off in two seconds with a three feet long metal cutter. Each locker should have either a metal or a hard-plastic number plate fixed on its door. Lockers can be made in units (e. g. 20 or 25 lockers per unit). Most schools need additional space to keep the lockers. The Ministry of Education should provide the necessary funds to the schools to procure the additional space and to install the lockers. It is an investment on the health of the population. Nobody wants our students to grow up into adults having back problems and damaged spinal columns. The important thing is to make a start NOW by providing lockers to about 50 pilot schools.
It is the duty of the Private Schools and the International Schools also to provide Lockers for their students.
(To be continued)
Next instalment: The Problem of Tuition Classes.
The writer has taught O/L, A/L and IB mathematics and physics for 45 years in Sri Lanka, Kenya and Switzerland.)
The edge of tolerance
BY Kusum Wijetilleke
In March of 2021, a nine-year-old girl from Delgoda, died as a result of injuries sustained at the hands of an exorcist. Her helpless screams were reported by several of the exorcist’s neighbours. The ritual required that the girl be beaten with a cane, presumably to drive out the undesirable spirit. Her father spoke to multiple news outlets, decrying the ritual and exhausting himself; insistent that his daughter was never under any sort of demonic spell.
In this supposed age of information, not only do ancient belief systems, including those that revolve around witchcraft, demons and exorcisms persist, they remain culturally relevant and widely practiced.
Garudan Thookkam, a symbolistic ritual involving Lord Vishnu, that originated in Kerala, and is also practised in Sri Lanka, requires that devotees be hung with metal hooks from a moving vehicle. An ancient Hindu ritual called Sati, which requires a widow to leap into the funeral pyre of her husband, is still practiced and was documented as recently as 2006. In parts of Africa, children suffering an epileptic seizure are treated not at a hospital, but by a witchdoctor.
There are literally hundreds of reports of exorcisms and witchcraft in various parts of India. In 2011, a woman from Kamhara died after an exorcist performed a ritual to banish a demon allegedly preventing her from conceiving a child. The exorcist branded various parts of her body, including her genitalia, with hot iron tongs and proceeded to beat her. In that same year, in Poaltore, several villagers were suffering from diarrhoea and fever. The local witchdoctor suspected a man from the same village had placed a curse and ordered his murder as well as those of his two sons. In 2021, in Odisha, an elderly couple was burnt to death while they slept, on suspicion of practicing witchcraft. Just a few months ago, a man and his toddler, from a village outside Delhi, were beaten to death during an exorcism.
There are no official statistics for the practice of exorcisms in Sri Lanka, though anecdotal evidence persists. What happened in Delgoda should not shock or surprise: these rituals occur regularly and in households of varying socio-economic backgrounds. The widespread belief in exorcisms may indicate a higher number of injuries and deaths than are reported.
Around the world, we have more substantiated evidence. The Vatican, Roman Catholicism’s HQ, has a programme that specializes in training and tutoring would-be exorcists. All the major religions have some belief in exorcisms or similar rituals.
Belief in ritual is a part of culture, and to each of us, our cultural inheritances can be definitive. The things we believe are unquestionably influenced by our environment, teachers, elders, parents and family; these are considered sacred. For many, the practice of these rituals is a key determinant of success and failure, of life and death.
The demise of the nine-year-old girl is proof that not all belief systems are benign. In Sri Lanka, we are taught the importance of culture, from an early age. We are obligated to participate in ritual and ceremony without question.
During this once-in-a-century pandemic, when the focus must be on using the latest available science to inform our decisions, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Health was pouring pots of ‘holy-water’ into a river. She approved a ‘potion’ as a remedy for Covid-19. Despite condemnation, she is still the Health Minister. She paid no price professionally for making laughable, ill-informed and potentially dangerous decisions. This should be alarming for any modern society that is serious about progressing.
Sri Lanka is hardly alone in the battle against dangerous dogmas. The UK Government’s own statistics from 2017 show 1500 child abuse cases linked to witchcraft and demonic possessions. This cannot be explained away by a lack of education. In 2018, a GP from Manchester was delisted from the NHS after taking a mentally ill patient to a church for exorcism. He also faced additional charges for threatening that she would be cursed if she told anyone about the ritual.
An average of polls from the last decade shows that more than half of all Americans believe in demonic possessions. A Gallup poll shows that belief in the devil was at 55% in 1990, but reached 70% in 2007. In 2011 the US had fewer than 15 ‘official exorcists’ (licensed by the Catholic Church); in 2019, there were over a hundred. It must be noted that, in the US, the official request for an exorcism requires a psychiatric evaluation with a mental health professional. The vast majority of mental health issues, when investigated, were found to be results of psychiatric issues and/ or related to psychotropic medication.
There has to be a reckoning, an acceptance, that we as a society must discourage belief systems that require nonsensical and often dangerous rituals, which very often leave deep psychological scars on the victims. Sometimes, it really does seem polite to simply ignore blatant incoherence. Society tolerates nonsensical statements and damaging actions if they are based on deeply and solemnly held beliefs.
Beliefs are our personal representations of the world, they affect our emotions and thus our behaviour, especially towards one another. If we feel that someone in our vicinity is disrespectful towards our belief system, this invariably affects how we treat them. This prejudice has led to the oppression of homosexuals, non-believers, scientists and philosophers. Fundamental differences in belief systems have disastrous consequences. In fact, it seems that part of the story of humanity’s progression has been the constant struggle to survive our cultural ethno-religious differences.
Liberal thought and modernism prescribes a tolerance of other’s belief systems so as to co-exist in a society. Tolerance, in the hopes of minimizing the chances of conflict, defines modern liberal thought on social issues.
The neuroscientist and author Sam Harris has eluded to the “balkanization of the world” and the consequences of being defined by our cultural assemblies. A belief is one’s personal representation of the world. A structure of thinking that guides our emotions and behaviour. The (new) liberal consensus also believes that the most appropriate means of countering extreme beliefs is to encourage moderation.
Then when skeptics question even the most extreme religious doctrines, they are instantly told that questioning these beliefs will only serve to isolate the moderates. Thus moderation provides a safe haven for fundamental beliefs because very often, moderates do not question more extreme beliefs. The conversation is muted.
Throughout history, reason and debate have left a lot of dogmas in the past and it is that willingness to question a belief about reality that has led to human progression. To hide behind moderation for the sake of tolerance, to ensure no offence is caused, has consequences of its own.
The endgame for any civilization or society is not to be politically correct and tolerate all manner of absurdity, but to use reason and openness to evidence to challenge dogma. The idea that one’s beliefs, religious or otherwise, must be respected is deeply flawed. Ultimately, as sentient human beings, it is not up to us to respect a person’s belief, it is up to us to evaluate their reasoning. Modern society has weaponised tolerance in a manner that runs counter to human progression and flourishing.
Sustainable solution to decline in tea production, export revenue and livelihood issues
by Jayampathy Molligoda
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tea Board
The word “sustainability” is often distorted without being used in ecological context to get its proper meaning. In simple terms, we have the responsibility to protect the right of future generations to live in a safe environment. Similarly, Climate change can be understood as a set of alterations in the average weather caused by global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases. Climate change phenomenon is serious, which is worse than the COVID-19 pandemic. it is the one challenge that potentially has the most severe impacts globally and on Sri Lanka. The very reason for this is that climate change affects virtually every aspect of our ‘every day today’ life, economic, social and environmental. It is a multidimensional challenge, with its impacts ranging from issues like human health, supply of safe water and food, biodiversity, economic development, etc.
(2) Systems view of life:
Modern Science has come to realize that all scientific theories are approximations to the true nature of reality. Science doesn’t have answers to natural phenomena. Mechanistic view looks at a closed view of a specific area which is a tiny part of a large system. They have dominated our culture for the past three hundred years and is now about to change. Before 1500 AD the dominant world view was that people lived in small communities and experienced nature by the interdependence of spiritual and material phenomena.
The Systems view looks at the world in terms of relationships and integration, inter-dependence of all phenomena i.e.: physical, biological, social, and cultural. Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks, the systems approach emphasizes basic principles of organization.
According to Prof. Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist, the architect of “systems view of life” to find lasting solutions, there are solutions to the major problems of our time. They require a radical shift in our perceptions, our thinking, and our values. An “Eco system” is a living system of communities of plants and animals, microbes sharing an environment with non- living plants such as air, water, climate, soil. In my view, the above is the best illustration to understand the importance of adhering to the “system view of life” to find lasting solutions. Capra’s view is that our traditional politicians and business leaders have been unable to provide long term solutions to these problems and he welcomed the creation of social movements founded on the premises to change the current traditional sociological paradigm and to build sustainable communities.
From the systemic point of view, the only viable solutions are those that are “sustainable” Therefore, the challenge of our time is to create sustainable communities, that is, social and cultural environments in which we can satisfy our needs and aspirations without diminishing the chances of future generations. The sustainable communities need to be designed in such a way its social structures do not interfere with natures inherent ability to sustain life but support and corporate with natures inherent ability to sustain life.
(3) Structures, Processes and patterns:
The following ten points are useful in order to understand as to how the eco- system works.
1. Eco system is a living system of communities of plants and animals, microbes sharing an environment with non- living plants such as air, water, climate, soil
2. The theory of living system tries to understand this and the ecological literature deals with the basic principles of ecology (and live accordingly)
3. Nature, every organism, plant, micro-organism, cells, tissues all are in a living system.
4. All living systems need energy and food.
5. All living systems produce waste, but there is no net waste
6. Capra expresses the life of any living organism as made up of pattern, process and structure.
7. If we apply these ideas to ourselves or our organizations, we can see that in the patterns we find our identity.
8. In the processes we develop our relationships, our beliefs, our principles and behaviours becoming more conscious.
9. In the structures we become more fluid, more focused on the present moment; we become alive.
10. The building of sustainable communities is deeply connected to our search for a new sociological paradigm.
This gave rise to the concept of Complex Adaptive Systems, as a multidisciplinary concept- are considered complex because they are made-up of diverse elements which are interconnected with each other and are adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience.
(4) Decline in tea production, market share, revenue, despite chemical application:
In this connection, we wish to state that Sri Lankan tea production has been drastically declining over a period of time, despite supplying large quantities of imported artificial fertilizer. For an example, in 2010 the total tea production was 330 million kilos, covering 222,000 hectares, wherein some 160, 000 metric tons of fertilizer per year had been used on an average basis up to date on a regular basis, however, we have ended up with only 289 million kilos of tea production in 2020, covering 253,000 hectares. The compound annual average growth rate (CAGR) was negative 1.5% and the Sri Lankan tea industry cannot sustain anymore as both quality, quantity as well as the competitiveness have drastically eroded. As a result, our market share has come down and the foreign exchange revenue which was around US $ 1.6 Billion eight years back has now come down to US $ 1,24 million/year only. As you are aware, during the period 2017 to end 2019, a large number of tea factories had to close down and many smallholders were badly affected and the new/re planting extents were less than 1%, where as it should have been at least @2% of the cultivated extent.
As a result of excessive usage of agro-chemicals, there has been a number of rejections of our Ceylon tea consignments reported from the major important markets such as Japan, EU, UK, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan etc. This situation has arisen due to detection of pesticide residues in the Ceylon Teas exported, which are over and the above the permitted maximum residue levels (MRLs). Tea Exporters Association (TEA) has brought to the notice of SLTB notice on number of occasions the serious non- compliances which includes detection of excessive pesticide and other chemical residues over and above MRLs. In addition, the presence of foreign/extraneous matters and high moisture levels which lead to microbial contamination & fungus formation may end up in development of micro toxin fungus – these will become health hazard.
(5) Tea plantation system as a complex adaptive system:
My own view is that the long- term goal of Sri Lankan tea industry would be to build “sustainable communities” for the tea plantations and, achieving higher foreign exchange earnings from tea exports may be only one of the unit objectives.
A sustainable community is one that is economically, environmentally, and socially healthy and resilient. It meets challenges through integrated solutions rather than through fragmented approaches that meet one of those goals at the expense of the others. And it takes a long-term perspective—one that’s focused on both the present and future.
Scientists began to observe certain properties in biological systems. The adaptation of the individual independent components within the system to the environment was one such property. The experts observed this phenomenon was visible in systems such as eco-systems, global economics systems, and social systems.
(6) Strategies implemented by the new administration:
With the new administration, the government together with the private sector stakeholders have been able to reverse the negative trends experienced previously and the higher fob prices and increased tea auction sale averages are now getting tricked down to growers, thus addressing the livelihood income issues systematically.
The Sri Lanka tea industry witnessed a recovery amidst the COVID pandemic, with a substantial increase in production and the export volume during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the corresponding period as well as the year 2020 compared to 2019.
During the Q 1- January to march ’21, the tea export revenue was Rs. 65 Billion, up by Rs. 16 billion YoY, from Rs 49 Billion during the 1Q, 2020.
Q 1- January to march ’21 cumulative production totaled 74 million kgs, up by 20 Mn. kg.
FOB price was Rs. 939/= per kilo during the Q1, which is an increase of 13%, from Rs. 827/= during the corresponding period 2020.
FOB price in US $ during the Q1 was US$ 4.77 as against US$ 4.47 during Q1 -20.
March fob in US $ was ($ 4.87) the highest ever.
FOB price during the year 2020 was Rs 867/=per kilo, when compared to Rs 823/= per kilo during the year 2019.
Consequent to this cabinet decision under the caption “Towards a green socio-economic pattern with sustainable solutions to climate change” actions have been taken by SLTB to request stakeholders to encourage them to produce, supply and use organic manure to be set up on each agro- climatic region in large quantities. It was suggested in the SLTB circular that immediate action be taken by TRI to formulate and prepare specifications of organic manure applications covering different applications such as Nursery stage, immature, mature VP and Seedling and recommendations for small holdings etc. The development of the organic fertilizer business needs high tech inputs based on R&D, the required raw material availability and market acceptance based on different crops. The regulatory issues that prohibit or delay arranging import of trial quantities of organic materials (without micro- organism) for R&D evaluation need to be addressed. The necessary guidelines from the regulatory authorities should support development of organic fertilizer at large scale.
(7) Implementation of tea industry strategic plan:
As a solution, we have recommended the stakeholders to follow strategies which includes ‘Integrated weed management system’ and migrate in to offering high quality ‘Ceylon Tea’ with near Zero pesticide & other chemicals to the global market in accordance with our ‘Tea industry strategic plan 20-25’ and CTTA tea strategy-road map.
One of the most striking features of the current operations of the stakeholders is the increased awareness and adherence of the social & environmental considerations at estate level. Ceylon tea is at an advantageous position in the global market viz; other competitors for reasons such as “Zero tolerance” policy on child labour, adherence to environmental considerations on a sustainable basis and of course the quality of Ceylon tea as perceived by the buyers. As a result, Ceylon tea continues to fetch a higher price at the Colombo auction compared to teas from other producing countries, although the cost structures and productivity levels of our estates are totally disproportionate to make the industry commercially viable in short to medium term scenario.
Tea plantations have to therefore pursue environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices & methods in all their agricultural field operations (i) tea manufacturing processes(ii) and managing its employees (iii)to ensure that all-natural resources and eco-systems will be managed in a sustainable manner. The companies will have to make every endeavor to conserve the usage of all resources by optimizing resource utilization and minimizing waste through practicing cleaner production principles. They will strive to be self-sufficient in green energy to operate all our tea factories through harnessing the hydropower potential within all the lands belonging to the company.
There are many strategies recommended by TRI and others such as development of Agro- forestry farming systems using all unutilised estate land to have ‘nitrogen fixation’ as suggested by Chairman TRI. This will improve the soil porosity, provided we issue guidelines instructing them to follow TRI guidelines on Integrated soil fertility management strategies as mandatory good agricultural practices (GAP)towards minimizing soil acidity, top soil erosion and wastage of inputs etc.
As stated, it is a fact that there has been no increase in productivity, but a gradual decline in tea productivity measured in terms of the yield per hectare in Sri Lankan tea estates, partly due to continuous application of chemical fertilizer and due to difficulties in adopting mitigating strategies to arrest negative impact of climate change. This depleted soil condition and land degradation issues need to be corrected as a matter of priority. This proposed strategy will enable the growers at least to correct the high acidity levels in the soil and improve soil porosity and tea product quality.
In sustainability circles much is written about “three pillars of sustainability” or in other words, “triple bottom line” of environment, society, and economy. My own view is this is to confuse ends with means. The Environmental sustainability and Human well-being are two desirable points. Economic wellbeing in the long run is driven by those two. In other words, the necessary precondition for long term economic sustainability and profitability of the tea estates is environmental and social well-being from the long- term perspective.
As for marketing of tea in the global markets, the discerning customers have high expectations of the standards and practices applied by the supply chain including tea estates. For example, Tea” is made according to the principles of “sustainable food” thus providing values to discerning customers, employees and all other stake holders. SLTB global promotion campaign aims to popularize tea drinking around the world in order to expand demand and increase per capita consumption, using three USPs; authenticity means demonstrating sustainability credentials, wellness factor and the premium quality of Ceylon Tea.
If the estate management does not look at long term view, it is unlikely they make profits on a continuous basis. Eventually, the long- term value creation for the shareholders depends on the sustainable development of the estates and the community in which they operate. That is why I consider tea plantation sector as one of the truly complex adaptive systems.
Are we leaving the tea plantations to future generations in a better condition than the one we inherited?
Govt. eases restrictions on foreigners as Covid-19 rips through country
Gaza conflict: Parliament calls for truce; govt. silent yet
Central Bank: No immediate threat of inflation rise from monetary expansion
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
Features5 days ago
Save the Last Dance for me
Features7 days ago
‘Why are Arts graduates unemployable?’
Features7 days ago
Ban on agrochemicals:Where are we heading?
Sports7 days ago
KJP and Dimuth different styles, contrasting leaders
news7 days ago
South Korea boosts SL economy with USD 500 million low interest loan
news5 days ago
UNICEF reveals UK hogs mountain of surplus vaccines while poor nations are crying out for help
Sports6 days ago
Sri Lanka cricket selection strategy and replacing the captain
Sports3 days ago
Dimuth, Mathews, Lakmal and others get pay cuts