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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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CRYSBRO recognised for its entrepreneurial excellence at Star Awards 2020

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Ranjana Mahindasiri, Group HR & Admin Manager, CRYSBRO Group of Companies, receving the Star Award for Farm’s Pride (Pvt.) Ltd

Affirming their leadership in Sri Lanka’s poultry industry, the country’s largest producer of poultry CRYSBRO was recently recognised for their entrepreneurial excellence at star awards 2020. Organised by the Department of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Promotion under the Ministry of Industries of the Central Province, the annual State Awards ceremony saw CRYSBRO’s subsidiaries Farm’s Pride (Pvt.) Ltd win a ‘Star Award’ and Midland Breeders (Pvt.) Ltd win the highly coveted ‘Merit Award’ as the Best Performing Entrepreneurs in the large scale manufacturing category within the Central Province.

The prestigious awards ceremony was held at the Grand Kandy Hotel with Governor of the Central Province, Lalith U Gamage attending as its Chief Guest. Held annually, Star Awards is known for its comprehensive assessments of its entrants which entail a mix of field visits, presentations and several rounds of thorough interviews. They assess both the performance of the organization and its operations, as well as its entrepreneurial spirit.

“We are deeply humbled and honoured to receive this national recognition for entrepreneurial excellence and resilience especially during these unprecedented times. Our primary intention when applying to awards is to gain a better understanding of industry best practices and continue to elevate industry benchmarks within our own operations. The comprehensive assessments done by awarding bodies give an opportunity to find where we have to improve and what we are doing right, so that at the end of the day we provide poultry produce of the highest quality and safety to our customers. This is invaluable intel and winning an award thereafter is a cherry on top. I would like to also highlight that this victory is clear reflection of the collective commitment and hard work put in by the team at CRYSBRO as well as the patronage of our loyal customer base”, stated CRYSBRO Group of Companies, Group HR and Admin Manager Ranjana Mahindasiri.

As Sri Lanka’s largest poultry producer, this marks the second time the company is recognised for its excellence in operations. They were first awarded a state honour with the ‘Lak Rakiya Harasara’ award by the Ministry of Manpower.

CRYSBRO actively contributes to bolstering the country’s food security agenda as well as towards empowering the rural economy and its communities, inciting major communal and economical transformation in these regions through a series of powerful grass root initiatives.

Under CRYSBRO’s ‘Diri Saviya’ program, over 1,200 maize and rice farmers as well as 250 plus poultry smallholders are given access to a wealth of essential technical and infrastructural facilities to strengthen their operations, allowing them to sell their produce at market prices without the need for any intermediaries. Through ‘Sisu Diriya’, the company offered study material, scholarships and corporate internships to school children and students completing their university or vocational education. The project also contributed the development of better infrastructure facilities in under-developed schools across the island, as well as the donating of books to libraries.

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Skal International Colombo holds 67th Annual General Meeting

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L-R Chief Guest Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, Foreign Secretary, Dinushka Chandrasena (president Skal International Colombo), Bernard Wijetunge (Immidiate Past President) and Guest Speaker Rayhan Wanniappa, Director (Air Transportation and Economic Regulation) Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.

The 67th Annual General meeting of Skal International was held recently at the Taj Samudra in Colombo on February 24. Sk. Dinushka Chandrasena, Managing Director of Travel Talk Asia was elected president and Sk. Ahintha Amarasinghe, Managing Director World Link Travels as Vice President for the year 2021/2022.

The Chief Guest at the event was Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, Foreign Secretary and the Guest Speaker was Rayhan Wanniappa, Director Air Transportation and Economic Regulation, Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.

Skål, founded in 1932, is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry with over 12,000 members in 99 countries.

Two new members were inducted during the luncheon, Pankaj Sampat, Area Director (Taj Asia Ltd) and TSL (Taj Safaris Ltd), General Manager for Taj Samudra, Colombo along with Kiran Bussari, Hotel Manager of Taj Samudra, Colombo.

Two awards of recognition for their longstanding service on the Ex-co were given to Sk Zahara Mufti and Sk Sega Nagendra.

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D. Samson Industries signs MoU with Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo

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The formalising of the MOU

D. Samson Industries recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo (FOMUOC). The objective of this partnership was to collaborate for the production of a Beta Brand-Diabetic Shoe Range.

Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Kasun Rajapaksa, Managing Director of D. Samson Industries (Pvt) Ltd., Professor Vajira Dissanayake, the Dean, Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo , Professor Mandika Wijeyaratne, Head Department of Surgery, Dr. Chathuranga Ranasinghe, Coordinator Sports and Exercise Medicine Unit, Dr Romain Perera, Dr. Thusitha Kahaduwa, Dilshan Rajapaksa, Director at DSI, Oshini Jayasooriya, Business Development Manager at DSI and Janaka Bandara, Assistant Business Development Manager at DSI were among those present at the signing of the MoU.

The number of diabetic patients in Sri Lanka is currently growing at an alarming level which calls for urgent medical attention and focus from medical authorities such as FOMUOC and SLMA. Beta diabetic shoes, produced by D. Samson Industries (Pvt) Ltd, are specially designed shoes intended to offer protection for diabetic feet and reduce the risk of skin breakdown, primarily in case of poor circulation, neuropathy and foot abnormalities. It is necessary to make diabetic patients aware of the benefits of this diabetic footwear, which can protect their feet in every level.

Beta diabetic shoes are designed with a protective interior made with soft material and with no stitching, as sometimes even the smallest prominence can irritate and cause skin breakdown in diabetic foot. The top of the shoe is soft and stretchable to suit tender and deformed feet. In addition, beta diabetic shoes contain special insoles that provide support, conform to the contours of the foot and reduce pressure on the bottom of the foot. The specially designed lightweight soles of the shoes are designed to facilitate ease of mobility.

The continuous improvement and development of the beta brand diabetic footwear will be undertaken with technical advice, research and support from the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo. With the added advice and consultation of the NIROGI Lanka project of the Sri Lanka Medical Association, this footwear will be of optimal use to diabetic patients.

 

 

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