Dunedin Skim Rubber Processing Centre Senior Manager Chandana Wanniarchchi (third from left) accepts Best of Best Award at the event
Heralded as a first-of-its kind event for the Sri Lankan plantations industry and local corporates, Hayleys Plantations hosted its inaugural Management Symposium, showcasing powerful new innovations and best practices developed by its estate teams in response to historic recent challenges.
The symposium, a common practice within academic and scientific circles, was the culmination of a structured programme launched across 60 estates and its teams across the island, by the HR division of the Hayleys plantations sector. Encouraging a research-driven scientific mindset, teams were tasked with compiling data and case studies around real-world problem-solving, backed by sound scientific and economic methodologies.
The event was attended by the Hayleys group top management and prominent industry stakeholders. The keynote address was delivered by respected academic, Senior Professor Buddhi Marambe, from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, who reiterated the importance of the private sector investing in research and development.
Commending Hayleys Plantations for the efforts taken, Prof. Marambe also spoke of the value of partnerships between corporates and emerging agri-tech pioneers, in driving the integration of next-gen technologies.
“We have seen our teams showcase powerful examples of innovative thinking, demonstrating their achievements amidst unprecedented challenges – a first in 150 years of our industry’s history. Grounded in science and evidence-based problem-solving, these case studies can support a more sustainable and prosperous future for Sri Lanka’s plantation industry and for over one million Sri Lankans connected to it,” Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.
Hayleys Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage receives first copy of symposium research booklet from Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai
Held under the theme ‘Innovative Business Thinking and Applications’, the symposium recognised the Top 10 projects/success stories with three company level winners, one from each of the Hayleys Plantations companies and the Best of the Best Overall Winner. Awards were presented to estate teams for high-impact initiatives covering triple bottom line areas such as worker happiness, increases in quality, use of renewable energy, innovative eco-friendly solutions, maximising land utilisation and increasing the professionalism of tea harvesters.
A panel of seven judges, led by Dr. Samantha Rathnayake, PIM Senior Management Consultant and Faculty Member, scored submissions based on value-adding potential, innovation and creativity deployed.
The waste water management system set in place by the Dunedin Skim Rubber Processing Factory was recognised as the best presented project by Kelani Valley Plantations PLC and was also crowned the Best of the Best Overall Winner at the symposium. The estate team reduced the usage of waste water generation by 50 percent with an ROI within just five working days after the new system was put in place.
Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC’s Bearwell Estate was awarded as the Best of the Best company level winner, for its green leaf zipline transportation project, which reduced the cost of transportation, contributed to productivity, health and well-being of employees and reduced the estate’s fuel consumption and carbon footprint.
Horana Plantations PLC’s Fairlawn Estate was recognised as the company level winner, for its weed buyback scheme. Established during the fertiliser crisis, the initiative offered estate employees additional income for removing weeds, which were then sold to the estate and used as the main input for home-made organic fertiliser.
To foster greater knowledge-sharing and skills development for people joining the industry, copies of a symposium research booklet comprising the learnings of the Top 10 submissions will be disseminated externally to academia and plantations industry stakeholders.
Comprising three top-rated Regional Plantation Companies, Kelani Valley Plantations PLC (KVPL), Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTEL) and Horana Plantations PLC (HPL), the Hayleys plantations sector owns 60 tea and rubber estates covering approximately 26.137 hectares of land spanning three distinctive agro-climatic regions.
Peradeniya University Agriculture Faculty Senior Professor Buddhi Marambe lights oil lamp at the event