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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.


Union Assurance expands Bancassurance footprint with Pan Asia Bank partnership



The Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance, Jude Gomes says the strategic partnership will pave the way for mutually beneficial and sustainable business growth

Sri Lanka’s No.1 Bancassurance provider, Union Assurance PLC, joined hands with The Truly Sri Lankan Bank, Pan Asia Bank, to expand the scope and reach of Bancassurance in the country. Pan Asia Bank has consistently introduced ground-breaking customer solutions to Sri Lankan consumers. This strategic alliance will offer an array of best-in-class insurance solutions comprising savings, protection, and investment coupled with comprehensive financial solutions. This partnership was officially signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance, Jude Gomes, and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Pan Asia Banking Corporation, Nimal Tillekeratne, on June 21st, 2022 at the Bank’s head office in Colombo.

The Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance, Jude Gomes, hailed the partnership as a milestone that will expand the Bancassurance footprint in Sri Lanka. He said it will enable them to offer a new-age insurance experience to customers of Pan Asia Bank. “We are delighted to partner with Pan Asia Bank. This strategic partnership will pave the way for mutually beneficial and sustainable business growth,” he emphasized.According to Jude Gomes, Bancassurance is a growing field that offers an unmatched customer-centric experience. “I’m confident that Bancassurance, with its emphasis on service excellence, innovation, and digital leadership, will help narrow the protection gap and empower the Sri Lankan dream,” he stated.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Pan Asia Banking Corporation, Nimal Tillekeratne, commenting on the strategic partnership, said: “We are pleased to partner with Union Assurance and this alliance will facilitate solutions that offer long-term protection and empower the Bank’s customers. Ensuring a secure future is important in these uncertain times, and as a bank with 27 years of expertise in providing financial solutions for Sri Lankans, we believe it enhances our innovative and customer-focused value proposition further,” he added.

This collaboration offers customers of Pan Asia Bank easy access to a range of innovative insurance solutions while fulfilling their banking needs. Pan Asia Bank, one of the fastest-going commercial banks in the country, is known for its innovative banking products and services. The Bank continues to report solid key profitability indicators which rank among the highest in the industry. Going from strength to strength, the nation’s Truly Sri Lankan Bank’, Pan Asia Bank is continuously recognized by many local and global entities for its performance and sustainability.

Adding further, the Chief Bancassurance Officer of Union Assurance, Vindya Cooray, said it was a privilege to be partnering with Pan Asia Bank. She described the alliance as an important step in their Bancassurance strategy to stay ahead in the field and provide value to customers. “Our expertise in Sri Lankan bancassurance landscape, coupled with our digital capabilities will enable us to provide a comprehensive solution where customers could fulfill their financial as well as protection needs under one roof,” she stressed.

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BOI launches online visa recommendation accelerating its digital transformation



Aimed at enhancing the Ease of Doing Business and accelerating digital transformation, the Board of Investment (BOI), announced on Friday the completion of the integration of the visa recommendation system in coordination with the Department of Immigration and Emigration and the Ministry of Defence to provide online visa recommendation for potential investors visiting Sri Lanka and all the enterprises that fall under the purview of the BOI.The BOI has already completed the online system up to the point where investors/enterprises could submit the visa application online and obtain the approved application from the BOI. For this, the investors were required to make three physical visits to the BOI head office. However, with the integration with the Department of Immigration, there is no need for the investors to visit the BOI at all.

Under the newly launched system, visa recommendations will be granted under three visa categories namely, entry visas, residence visas, and when extending visas. In addition, the applicants, who will be eligible to apply for this, are the investor, employees, and dependents of the investor, and selected employees.

One of the major benefits enjoyed by investors/enterprises out of the novel system, is the elimination of investors’ physical presence at the BOI saving their time. Investors can also monitor the online portal and review the status of the process. Upon the completion of the process, the applicants will be notified via an SMS and email alert. Then, the applicants can take the passport and relevant documents to the Immigration Department where they will be issued the visa. Furthermore, this system will also safeguard against misuse in submission of information, down to the strict assessment.

Speaking at the occasion, BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone, stated “the implementation of the online visa recommendation system is yet another milestone in the journey of digitizing the entire investor experience to ensure seamless delivery of services to investors,”

“Here, let me make a special mention about the officials of the Department of Immigration, the Ministry of Defence and our IT team for their competence and corporation in making the entire process a success,” she said.

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Seylan enables easy payment plans for solar energy in partnership with Hayleys Solar



In its bid to ensure that customers always receive convenient products and services that will enable and better their lives, Seylan Bank entered a partnership with Hayleys Solar to provide Seylan Credit Card holders with Easy Payment Plans (EPP) to purchase solar units. With the current energy crisis across the country, and the resulting escalating electricity costs, switching to solar power has become the most sustainable option. However, the high initial cost of installing the panels has limited people from using this alternative. With Seylan Bank’s partnership with Hayleys Solar, the option of transferring to solar energy becomes accessible and affordable to the public.

The easy payment plan for Seylan cards offers 0% installment options from 3 months through 6, 12 and 24 months for a minimum transaction of LKR 10,000 and a maximum of LKR 1 million. Customers are able to convert to the easy payment plan within 7 working days through calling the hotline on 0112008888.Speaking of the partnership Ruchith Liyanage, Head of Cards at Seylan Bank said, “Seylan Cards, as the ‘essential card for essential needs’, has always looked at supporting the essential financial requirements of our customers.”

The partnership between Seylan Bank and Hayleys Solar, the renewable energy arm of Fentons Ltd., which are both leaders in their respective industries, ensures the validity of the venture. Hayleys Solar is primarily focused on renewables and energy storage systems. With over a decade of market excellence, the company has successfully completed over 75MW of solar installations island wide making it the undisputed leader in Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) in Sri Lanka. Energynet, a solution provided by Hayleys Solar offers a wide range of off-grid, hybrid, and battery backup systems.

Hasith Prematillake, Managing Director of Fentons Ltd. says, “As challenging circumstances continue to prevail, it is imperative that we find ways to collaborate to foster practical, alternate renewable energy solutions.”

Roshane Perera, Director/Chief Executive Officer of Hayleys Solar, said, “We strive to develop solutions capable of meeting the nation’s evolving energy requirements. Energynet is one of those ideal solutions for the present power cuts and non-availability of fuel, as it allows the consumers to power up key appliances required to continue their daily lives in a convenient manner.”

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