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Hatton Plantations goes high tech, empowers women

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Hatton Plantations is set to revolutionize its activities bringing in new digital technologies and empowering its workforce Hatton Plantations PLC, General Manager Waruna Fernando told journalists on a field visit in Hatton. Over Rs 300 million has been invested on these developments including replanting, he said.

Waruna Fernando, General Manager, Hatton Plantation PLC addressing the media.

Waruna Fernando, General Manager, Hatton Plantation PLC addressing the media.

Fernando opined that Sri Lanka needs to expand mechanized tea harvesting because they faced a combination of issues including shortage of workers, low labour productivity, Lanka’s tea harvesters being the highest paid relatively to competitors and the request by the Planters Association of Ceylon for strategic reforms. Hence, they were on course of mechanizing field operations to overcome labour shortages confronted especially during cropping season.

Fernando said they have appointed women harvester team leaders, a concept which is a first in Sri Lanka and introduced harvesting machines imported from China investing over Rs 80 million.

‘Women harvester team leaders’, a concept which is a first in Sri Lanka

‘Women harvester team leaders’, a concept which is a first in Sri Lanka

“All supervisors previously were males although pluckers were females. Now we have recruited females as supervisors because the female pluckers, if they have any issues, can talk to the women harvest team leaders and sort out their problems.”

He said they were the first to introduce such an innovation to the plantations. Fernado also said they have imported over 200 plucking machines to mechanize field operations.

In addition, digital scales and smart digital identity cards have been introduced to harvest assistants in a move to digitize the harvesting process and empower women employees.

The use of digital scales

The use of digital scales

“We have been using normal scales to weigh the pluckers’ harvest, now we are using digital scales and once he or she puts it into the digital scale it will automatically get the weighment and it will be transferred to the factory or office online and they will get their number of kilos plucked exactly.”

He said the industry still could not recover fully due to the ban of chemicals and fertilizer which lasted for over two years and although the ban has now been lifted the prices were very high and requested the government to provide the industry tax rebates on fuel, electricity, and equipment imports to ensure sustainability of the plantation industry.

Hatton Plantations PLC is owned by the G & G Group of Companies.

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