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WISDOM IN THE LEAF

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A generation of Tea Inspired Knowledge From Dilmah Tea & its History of Ceylon Tea initiative

Teamaking is an ancient art, framed in science, yet equally demanding of passion and expertise. The Wisdom in the Leaf is a publication that aims to harness the art, science, and knowledge that will inspire tea drinkers and guide Teamakers, through a unique collaboration with the men and women whose passion is a significant component in the reputation of Ceylon Tea. The project was initiated as a tribute to Sri Lanka’s global ‘Teamaker’, Merrill J. Fernando, and to the tea planters who make Ceylon Tea. It is published by Dilmah Tea in celebration of its Founder’s 70th year in tea.

Curated by a committee of tea industry veterans and scientists, ‘Wisdom in the Leaf’ captures the tacit knowledge that is only acquired through experience. The contributors each share their expertise in a seminal work that is an invaluable resource for tea planters of the present and future.

The History of Ceylon Tea project was launched in August 2003 with the objective of sharing ‘One of the greatest stories that has ever been told.’ Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando explained his family’s vision in undertaking the project, “‘Dilmah gained consumer recognition globally on the strength of the finest Ceylon Tea, and it is only logical therefore that we should reciprocate, by giving future generations of Sri Lankans the opportunity to study and understand the heritage of one of the world’s greatest plantation industries. The Sri Lanka Tea Industry is today the lifeblood of this nation and Sri Lanka is best known in many countries for ‘Ceylon Tea’.”

Received with great acclaim by scientists and authors including Dr. S. D. G. Jayawardena (former Chairman of the Tea Research Institute), Jane Pettigrew (tea historian and author of 17 books on tea), Dr Nalini C. Gnanapragasam Sivapalan (former Deputy Director Research at the TRI) amongst others, Wisdom in the Leaf is the most comprehensive compendium of knowledge of Ceylon Tea that has been produced in the past five decades.

20 veteran planters with a collective experience of more than 500 years, contributed their knowledge while eminent scientists including Dr. Tanuja Ariyananda, Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, Dr. Tissa Amarakoon, and Daya Wickramatunga add critical scientific context.

The content spans agricultural, factory and manufacturing practices, the fundamentals of plantation management and important sustainability themes including rainwater harvesting, climate change and the environment. These topics are presented in an engaging style to make the book as readable for tea drinkers with an interest in the provenance of their cuppa, as for researchers and tea planters.

Topics covered include Personnel Development, Human Resources, Forestry and Conservation, Water Resource Management, Diversification, Buildings and Housing, Financial Accounting and Control, Transport, and Climate Change Adaptation.

The final chapter – “From the World of Science” – comprises contributions from reputed names in the scientific community, and cover topics such as Climate Change and Tea, Rainwater Harvesting, Mechanised Harvesting, Biochar, and the Health Benefits of Tea.

The concept for this publication was conceived by Dilhan C. Fernando, CEO of Dilmah Tea, and with his father Merrill J. Fernando’s blessing, this idea evolved into a tribute to tea planters and workers, the stewards of Ceylon Tea. The entire proceeds from the sale of each book will go to the MJF Foundation’s Vocational Training Scholarships for Plantation Youth.

The publication is a by-product of Dilmah’s History of Ceylon Tea (HOCT) project, whose Editor David Colin-Thomé was the Project Leader and Editor-in-Chief of ‘Wisdom of the Leaf’. The 336-page, hard-cover book is a mix of easy-to-read information interspersed with technical data and contemporary and historical photography. The latter includes a selection of never-before published historical images received from private family collections.

The Publication Committee comprised Jayantissa Ratwatte, Vernon Tissera, Bhatiya Jayaratne, Jivaka Atapattu, Kavi Seneviratne, Anura Gunasekera, and Monte Holsinger as the Technical Editor, with David Colin-Thomé as Editor-in-Chief. The contributors are Monte Holsinger, Vige Bede-Johnpillai, Dyan Seneviratne, Vernon Tissera, Jivaka Atapattu, Bhatiya Jayaratne, S.K. Seneviratne, Ernie Daniels, Bernard Holsinger, Saman Munasinghe, Jayantha Jayawardene, Anura Gunasekera, Malin Goonetileke, Sarath Imbuldeniya, Russell Tennekoon, Ryle Perera, Steve Morrell and Nimal Amerasekera. From the world of science, the contributors are Dr. Tanuja Ariyananda Ph.D, Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda B.Sc, Dr. Tissa Amarakoon Ph.D, and Daya Wickramatunga M.Sc.

 

I am confident that this book is destined to become the Bible of the future planters, University students and many others.

Dr. S.D.G. Jayawardena – Former Chairman Tea Research Institute (2006 to 2015) and former Director General, Department of Agriculture.

I was pleased to see the names of veteran planters, many of whom I have had a close association with at some time or other during the time I was at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka. Who else other than such experienced men are suited to write a compendium of this sort?  Interacting with men of such calibre and imbibing their practical knowledge had helped many of us scientists in designing our field experiments to suit different agro-climatic zones.

Dr Nalini C. Gnanapragasam Sivapalan – Agricultural Consultant & Research Adviser and former Deputy Director, Research at the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka

What is truly remarkable is that information which might appear rather dry and academic in an ordinary textbook is brought to life on these pages through the clever use of typeface, page layout, the division of the text into manageable paragraphs, and illustrations that bring the story to life.

Jane Pettigrew – Tea specialist, historian, writer and consultant. Since 1983, she has been working in the UK and around the world to explain and share the fascinating world of tea.



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Cabraal comments on exchange rate flexibility

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Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, twice Central Bank Governor and former State Minister for Finance, issued the following media statement last week on exchange rate flexibility.

“The decision to allow the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) to be “flexible” from March 7, 2022 onwards is sometimes described by certain persons as being a “unilateral” decision of then Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Therefore, this statement is to provide the factual position so as to set the record straight.”The decision to allow flexibility in the exchange rate was taken by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka based on a Monetary Board Paper dated March 7, 2022 submitted by all three Deputy Governors (Mr Mahinda Siriwardene, Mr Dammika Nanayakkara & Mrs Yvette Fernando), Director – Economic Research Department and Director – International Operations Department.

“The Board Paper stressed the need for changing the exchange rate policy immediately in order that the exchange rate acts as a “shock absorber” in the face of adverse developments in the global front on Sri Lanka’s already fragile Balance of Payments, including the increase of the crude oil price to nearly USD 140 per barrel and the worsening Russia-Ukraine war.

“Based on that Board Paper and the discussion at the meeting, the Monetary Board decided to ‘allow the market to have a greater flexibility in the exchange rate with immediate effect and communicate that the Central Bank is of the view that forex transactions would take place at levels which are not more than Rs. 230 per US dollar.’

“From the above it will be clear that, while the Monetary Board had expressed its ‘view’ as to the level at which forex transactions would take place as a market guidance, a clear decision had been taken to allow for the flexibility of the LKR in the forex market. On the same day, a statement was issued to the media in line with the above decision.

Refer: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20220307_policy_package_to_support_greater_macroeconomic_stability_e.pdf

“Further, within about a week of floating the LKR, the President made a formal announcement that the government had initiated discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a programme.

“Subsequently, Governor Cabraal resigned on April 4, 2022, on which day, the LKR was trading at Rs. 289.73/299.99 per USD in accordance with the new ‘flexible’ exchange rate policy as announced by the Monetary Board. After Governor Cabraal’s exit, the Monetary Board chaired by the new Governor Dr. Weerasinghe continued with the ‘flexible’ exchange rate policy, whist the Government and CBSL also took a series of far reaching decisions which included the decisions to: sharply increase policy interest rates by 700 bps from April 8, 2022 onwards, and to discontinue repayments of forex loans and interest from April 12, 2022 onwards.

“In the meantime, the LKR continued to depreciate to a range of Rs. 364.23/377.50 against the USD by May 12, 2022, at which point, the Monetary Board had apparently once again decided to ‘fix’ the exchange rate at a new range between Rs.355.00/Rs.365.00 per USD. Such move to ‘fix’ the exchange rate seems quite similar to the policy adopted by the Monetary Board chaired by Governor Professor W D Lakshman which ‘fixed’ the LKR exchange rate at a range of Rs.199.00/203.00 per USD from September 6, 2021 onwards.

“It must of course be understood that there will always be conflicting opinions among stakeholders as to the value, timing and methodology to be followed in ‘fixing’, or ‘floating’ or ‘pegging’ a country’s currency. It is also quite possible that after decisions are taken to ‘float,’ ‘fix’ or ‘peg’ the currency, others could, claim that the decision was right or wrong or implemented differently.

“However, it must be appreciated that the decision-making authority has to take its decision based on the prevailing circumstances, expert advice, practical ground conditions, judgment of future expectations and outcomes, etc. when viewed holistically. That is obviously why the Monetary Law Act provides the authority to the Monetary Board to change financial and monetary sector policies (including the exchange rate policy, interest rates, statutory reserve ratios, etc) when it deems appropriate to do so, from time to time.

“It must also be appreciated that the implementation of policy measures is carried out by the professional and technical staff, of the Central Bank and they would naturally ensure that the policy measures being implemented are based on legal and binding decisions of the Monetary Board, which is the decision making authority, and not based on ‘unilateral’ decisions of a single person.”

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Cathay Pacific releases its 2021 Sustainability Report

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The Cathay Pacific Group has released its comprehensive annual Sustainable Development Report that addresses its commitment and progress in the areas of environmental, social and governance, which are of great importance to its stakeholders, and towards its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Regional General Manager, South Asia Middle East and Africa (SAMEA), Rakesh Raicar said: “We continue to ramp up our efforts to fight climate change and have made specific tangible progress towards supporting and prioritizing our sustainability issues which are communicated in our 2021 Sustainable Development Report. This includes supporting our communities in India by transporting essential aid during this global health crisis, and making new commitments towards the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in our operations. We are certain, together with our partners and customers, we will continue to positively contribute to the environment and communities, and also connect Hong Kong to the world in sustainable ways as recovery accelerates.”

Some highlights from the 2021 report include:

• Helping to deliver vaccinations around the world: We raced against time to develop a dedicated Vaccine Solution to make COVID-19 vaccines available to global communities. In 2021, over 165 million vaccine doses along with other essential medical supplies were delivered to Hong Kong and beyond by our airlines.

• Making progress towards carbon neutrality: We became one of the first airlines in Asia to target 10% SAF use by 2030 and have committed to purchasing more than 350 million gallons of SAF beginning from 2024 alongside our Oneworld Alliance peers. We also co-founded the Aviation Climate Taskforce, an industry platform through which we will accelerate the development of breakthrough technologies that will help drive the decarbonisation of civil aviation. We also developed Asia’s first major Corporate SAF Program in 2021, which came to fruition in April this year with the launch of its pilot phase, bringing SAF into Hong Kong International Airport for uplift for the very first time.

Strong commitment to diversity: We have pledged to increase female representation at senior positions by 25% – reaching 30% in total – by 2025. To drive changes, a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Steering Committee and a dedicated team were set up in 2021.

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TDL Logistics bags Bronze at National Logistics Awards

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TDL Logistics Pvt. Ltd. won the Bronze Award in the Freight Forwarders and Logistics Category at the National Logistics Awards. TDL Logistics Pvt. Ltd. was established in October 2010 by Tony De Livera, along with a group of professionals in freight forwarding and logistics. TDLL has since established itself as a premier, service-oriented, international freight and logistics company with a special emphasis on the wearing apparel industry worldwide. The organisation is poised for exciting developments, such as enhancement of their network coverage, internationalization of the business and the formulation of strategic partnerships, with their prime expectation being to have rapid growth, with a strong agency network globally.

“This award further reflects the confidence of our customers in the quality of our services. I would say this is a collective achievement of our Company’s most dedicated employees at all levels. Winning an award at the first ever National Logistics Awards Ceremony is a great honour and a source of pride for me. Especially during these challenging times. As a result, I would like to thank SLFFA and fellow members for their continuous encouragement and support shown to our group and the TDLL Team, and I owe a very special thank you to all our colleagues for their hard-work and dedication over the years, that enabled us to win this award,” said Chairman of the Company Tony de Livera.

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