Agarapatana Plantations is Sri Lanka’s largest tea producing Plantation Company, widely renowned for distinctive taste and fragrance, and new innovative technologies used for production of a superior tea quality. The company is working under the brand of Lankem Tea and Rubber Plantations (Pvt) Ltd., the major producer of tea and rubber in Sri Lanka. Sunil AbeyRatna, Managing Director, points out, “From being the island’s favourite brew to the vibrant plantation landscapes and colonial tradition, the socio-economic imprint of Ceylon Tea holds a special place in the already exotic natural wealth of the country.”
History incorporated in the most prominent tea tastes
Agarapatana Plantations is spread over a total land extent of 6.700 hectares providing annual production of 8.8 million kilograms of Uva and Western high-grown type of tea and one million kilograms of bought crop purchased from smallholder growers.
Located in the Haputale region, the company possesses the Dambatenne Estate – a historically important property connected with the establishment of the widely renowned Ceylon tea. Sunil AbeyRatna explains, “Sir Thomas Lipton acquired the property in the 1890 producing tea on this land for more than 40 years. Dambatenne Estate was the main instrument in the creation of the Lipton Tea Empire and the legacy of Ceylon Tea”.
Situated in the Badulla district on a total land extent of 873 hectares, Dambatenne Estate is highly influenced by the Uva and Wellawaya regional climates, which provide rich biodiversity. The Estate is divided in five divisions including Bandara Eliya, Dambatenne, Deaculla, Mousakellie and Mahakanda, producing a mix of tea leaf grown at High, Medium and Low elevations.
Today the company harvests over 1.5 million kilograms of Black Tea produced under the brand Bandara Eliya. He adds, “Although we sell the majority of our products through auction, we welcome direct export orders for special tea types”.
The Western High-Grown Estates of the company are located in the Agras Valley.
Certified production and care for the nation’s social aspects
The tea production of Agarapatana Plantations Ltd., is supported by 28 highly-equipped manufacturing facilities, processing ISO 2000, ISO 22000 (food grade) and HACCP standards. Rainforest Alliance Group Certification covers most of the Estates and 13 are certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership in regard to human resources and working conditions.
Agarapatana Plantations is highly engaged in the improvement of social welfare for its employees and their families through the implementation of sustainable development programmes and health and safety campaigns. Sunil AbeyRatna emphasizes, “At Agarapatana we continue to pursue energy efficiency initiatives. We have pioneered in the conversion of several factories from fossil fuel to renewable energy, and we are currently enjoying the economic and environmental benefits from the project.”