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‘Women’s vital contribution to tea sector going unrecognized’

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By Steve A. Morel

Center for Women’s Research, CENWOR, Colombo, conducted workshops recently highlighting importance of women entrepreneurs to the economy of the country. Also, that they were not effectively recognized for this contribution.

Representing the Tea Factory Owners Association Dhammika Mahipala  said tea smallholders, who number around 400, 000, and own small holdings, one or two hectares each in extent, produce  75 percent of the tea in the country. Yields per hectare are now at a record high of 1952 kilos. He added it would not be long before such yields exceed 3000 kilos per hectare.

Such crop achievements were possible because  smallholder lands  are predominantly  worked by women. Their crop is eventually processed by the tea factory owners and sold at the auctions at premium prices. As already known, prices realized last year were the highest on record.  Apart from kudos lavished on the factories,  production of tea crop, or tea  leaf, was possible mainly because of the women who work their lands. Such lands are not owned by them, but their husbands; who with least effort are the main beneficiaries of production of these tea lands. Mahipala said women who are the main producers of tea are invariably rendered insignificant in the production chain.

Women  are mainly responsible   for contributing over 1.5 billion dollars to the  economy. This made the tea industry viable although the Covid debacle literally throttled  most other industries. The tea industry was instrumental in ensuring exports  continued without interruption and  the economy was kept viable. All  because of women who were directly responsible for production; both in the corporate sector and the tea smallholder sector.

Director,  CENWOR, Dr. Kala Peiris  said the smallholder sector continued such production with women not being paid for the work they do.  They are not recipients of all statutory dues.  They do not get EPF, ETF, and allied pension benefits, no child care benefits, and connected  pluses that give them allied dignity.  She agreed the formalized tea sector workers are paid, with attendant benefits of water sanitation, housing,  and  all statutory dues.

However,  her strong advocacy for recognition, both domestically and socially should be of immediate importance,  resulting in women  being positively recognized for their contribution to the economy, and not relegated to the position of non persons.

The CENEWOR  discussion was  parallel to the contribution of the FAO, which also played a catalyst role  to ensure women are recognized in the future. Tina Jayaratnam, representing the FAO at the head table said, the multi-faceted contribution of women should be recognised.

Director, CENWOR, Dr. Wijeye Jayatilleka and Dr. K.C.B. Puspalatha also spoke.

 

 



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‘Expolanka Holdings steadfast in posting stabilized Q3 results’

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Expolanka Holdings PLC recorded a steady 9-month performance as at December 31, 2022 amid declines in the overall global markets. Reflecting the underlying strength of its business and success in pursuing a consolidated strategy, the combined 9-month performance delivered a strong endorsement in overcoming challenges in the macro environment with Year-to-date Revenue of Rs. 491Bn, Gross Profit Rs. 85.9Bn and Net Profit Rs. 32Bn. International business continued to generate above 95% in contribution, demonstrating the robust earning potential of the company, an Expolanka Holdings press release said.

The release adds: ‘However, declines in international trade moderated Q3 FY 2022 earnings, recording a Revenue of Rs. 94.2Bn, Gross Profit of Rs. 20.6Bn and a Profit after Tax of Rs. 3.0Bn.

‘Contributing to company earnings was the logistics sector which navigated the challenging macro-economic environment and adopted longer-term strategies concentrating on business fundamentals. For Q3, the sector posted a Revenue of Rs. 92Bn, Gross Profit of Rs. 19.9Bn and Profit after Tax of Rs. 2.7Bn delivering a YTD Profit after tax of Rs. 30.1Bn.

‘Impacting revenues were a reduction in operating volumes across Air Freight and Ocean Freight products due to the overall slowdown in global trade volumes on grounds of high inventory levels, inflationary fears and the global energy crisis. The Air Freight business encountered a relatively larger impact due to challenging market conditions resulting in weakening demand and reduced volumes.

‘Focusing on increased customer penetration, developing partner networks and enhanced competencies, the company was successful in gaining cumulative progress in the Ocean Freight product.

‘The North American trade lane continues to remain the critical business driver for Expolanka, while the European and Intra-Asia companies remained resilient.

‘Reinforcing growth and sustaining improved margins was also due to the company’s focus on strengthening customer relationships, attracting selective new customers and engaging in proactive procurement strategies.

‘Key EFL origins also delivered strong results, reflecting the success of the infrastructure investments made into these markets.

‘The Group’s stabilized 9-month performance was also aided by the continued resurgence in the leisure sector. In Q3 the sector delivered a Revenue of Rs. 725Mn, Gross profit of Rs. 578Mn and Profit after tax of Rs. 202Mn by strengthening its market position focusing on efficient procurement and operational excellence.’

‘Recording a revenue of Rs. 1.6Bn and a Profit after Tax of Rs. 41Mn, the Group’s investment sector remained steady making progress across its business portfolios.

‘Despite the global macro environment remaining uncertain and challenging in the future, Expolanka aims to forge ahead, unwavering in its approach to deliver on earmarked strategic initiatives building on its strong performance. The company stands persistent towards generating accelerated growth and innovation while remaining true to its core values by reaffirming its long-term commitment and challenging the status quo to seize opportunities in the market that would predominantly secure its position as a market leader.’

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Sanasa Life Introduces “Pinsaru Vandana” – A Premium Insurance Policy for Buddhist Clergy

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Helping to elevate and protect the Buddha Sasana, Sanasa Life Insurance has introduced a very special and tailored insurance policy for Buddhist Monks. The “Pinsaru Vandana” insurance policy provides a specialized insurance scheme addressing the special needs of Buddhist Monks. An auspicious inauguration ceremony was held, in the presence of several senior members of the Buddhist Clergy on the 17th of January 2023, at the Sri Sambudhdhatva Jayanthi Mandiraya in Colombo. A total of 300 Buddhist Monks were in attendance at the event, and gave their blessings for this special insurance scheme. A group of dignitaries, including Wishawa Prasadini, Dr. P. A. Kirivandeniya and Piriwena Director, Venerable Watinapaha Somarathana Thero, were also present and played key roles during the event.

“Pinsaru Vandana” is an insurance scheme that provides relief and protection for junior monks, in the event of the death, serious illness or incapacitation of their patron/senior monk. In such an unfortunate event, junior monks can often become destitute and or marginalized. Thus, “Pinsaru Vandana” will help to protect these young monks as they pursue their journey and mission of elevating and sustaining the Buddha Sasana.

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Technocity hosts ‘Together We Win’ training programme in Thailand

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The team at the ‘Together We Win’ training programme in Thailand

The Technocity Pvt. Ltd., the leading Sri Lankan IT Distribution Company, recently held a three-day ‘Together We Win’ training programme at the Rembrandt Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

The event, in partnership with HP, invited The Technocity’s top 10 Partners for training in gratitude for the continuous support they have shown towards helping the company develop its business.

The event featured esteemed speakers, including Gehan Thangappan (Business Head, The Technocity), Manish Gawri (Hp Inc., Notebook), T Natarajan (Hp Inc., Print) and M. Kalim (Sales Manager, The Technocity).

The sessions covered various pertinent topics while the invitees viewed a series of product videos during the training to further understand the complexities of the products.

Addressing the invitees, Gehan Thangappan said, “We started small, as all new businesses do, but we’ve grown beyond our borders. This is all thanks to our valued partners and customers who have helped us achieve newer and higher ground. Grateful as we are, we also look forward to providing our diverse clientele with the best products and top-notch service as always.”

The Technocity also conducted a F2F discussion with the partners, briefing them on the way forward and announcing the channel incentive schemes in place targeting Ink Tank Printers. Prior to the conclusion of the event, the attending partners partook in a quiz segment and were treated to exciting giveaways.

“We are very happy with the success of this programme. The training had a very good impact, especially as it was held out of the country and it motivated partners. It was also significant for us as it was the first event we had held overseas after Covid,” Thangappan added.

The Technocity Pvt Ltd is one of the leading distributors in Sri Lanka for IT products and services. In the nearly three decades since its establishment, The Technocity has grown to become one of the most trusted names in the industry. The company is also the first local distributor for HP in Sri Lanka and boasts a portfolio of representation for notable brands like Asus, Lenovo, MSI, Logitech and Viewsonic.

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