Estate poverty needs urgent attention - Tittawella
The level of poverty and quality of life in the plantation sector has
significantly improved during the last few years but need to develop
further to retain labour in the sector, Chairman-Taskforce to Rebuilding
Nation (TAFRN) and Presidential Adviser Mano Tittawella said.
The entire plantation sector will be in a crisis if we do not
eliminate estate poverty and housing problem in the sector within next
few years, Tittawella said at the Annual General Meeting of the
Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) last week.
He said that exodus of estate labour is one of the major problems due
to poor housing and sanitary conditions in the sector, which is a major
problem, the plantation sector has encountered with.
"It is not fair for plantation companies to spend money on poverty
alleviation programmes. We need to obtain donor support to improve the
sustainability of the plantation sector," Tittawella said.
He said that estate labour wages should continue to increase to
attract and retain this labour force in the sector in the country. The
community rehabilitation programmes have to be increased for the purpose
of the set objective, he said.
Tittawella said today new tea producing countries are emerging and
produce at a lesser cost which would affect the entire sector in time to
'With the exodus of labour from the plantation sector we will not be
able to be competitive in the global market',he said.
To improve the viability of the sector, regional plantation companies
have not fully utilised lands in plantation or housing. He said that
those un-used lands could be utilised for estate housing programmes.
Tittawella said that tea smallhoders account for more than 65 per
cent of the total tea production in the country which needs to be
improved to increase their productivity. Big estates produce lesser tea
for the sector, he said.
PHDT Chairman in his review stated that last year Plantation
Development Support Programme was Funded by the Government's of
Netherlands and Norway. Early child care development and life skill
projects were supported by UNICEF and the Child Labour Prevention
Program supported by ILO/IPEC were the main programmes implemented by