Having considered the cooperate responsibility for the contribution towards advancement of tea industry, Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture organized an “Educational and Technical Gathering Event for the Team Members of Low Country Tea Planters Association” at the Senate Conference Hall of the Uva Wellassa University on November 14, 2022. This event facilitated the team members of the Low Country Tea Planters’ Association to make dynamic dialogues with the Uva Wellassa academia aiming to empower their team members on effective management of their tea cultivation and tea product value addition as well as to provide opportunities to share their experience with undergraduate students who are following BScHons (Tea Technology and Value Addition). The university academia represented different expertise fields and the 3rd year undergraduate students of the above degree program participated for the event.
Dr. Lalith Amarathunga, Senior Lecturer, welcomed the gathering at the inauguration ceremony and he highlighted the significance of maintaining rapport between the university academia and Low country tea planting community. Addressing the Chief Guest of the event, Prof. Jayantha Lal Ratnasekera, Vice Chancellor, Uva Wellassa University gave an overview to the Uva Wellassa University and highlighted its contribution via four faculties conducting undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs in different disciplines to produce well-rounded, employable, technocratic and entrepreneurial graduates equipped with knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to make outstanding contributions to the national development. Prof. Saman K. Herath, Dean, Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture gave an overview to the Faculty of Animal Sciences and Export Agriculture and its contribution via conducting five-degree programs to produce entrepreneurial graduates equipped with sound technical knowledge and soft skills to face challenges and reach opportunities of the national development context. Mr. S.M.P. Jayantha, President, Low Country Tea Planters’ Association and National Plantation Corporative Society (NaP Coop) highlighted the aims of building up of relationship with the Uva Wellassa University and appreciated the efforts and opportunities granted by the University toward empowerment of their association members as the most effective tea entrepreneurs who can play a significant role in value addition process of tea industry. Prof. Wasantha Seneviratne, Head, Department of Export Agriculture emphasized the importance of this event to build up a joint venture between Uva Wellassa University and tea stakeholders to make dynamic dialogues with academia aiming to empower the Low country tea association team members as a tea Entrepreneurs.
At the technical session, Dr. Lalith Amarathunga, Prof. Kapila Premathilaka, Dr. Ranjith Perera made presentations on “Challenges, Opportunities and Way Forward of Low Grown Tea Sector”, “Importance of adopting Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for the Sustainability of Tea Land Productivity” and “Challenges and opportunities for value addition in tea under Sri Lankan context”, respectively. Besides, Mr. Thusara Perera, Member/Low Country Tea Planters Association shared his views on “Hands on Experience on the Production of Artisanal Tea for export market”. Miss M.M.T.P. Pabasara. Proprietor, Samanala Farms producing value added “Blooming tea”, presented her experience on developing her own Tea Agribusiness by tea product diversification, value addition and introducing to international market. Importantly, Miss Pabasara is a graduate of the Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture under the BScHons (Export Agriculture).
At the open discussion, which was chaired by Prof. Saman Herath, Dean, Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture, issues and problems faced by medium scale tea growers and possible viable solutions to overcomes such issues were discussed. Finally, the Low country tea associations members and the university management together with academia unanimously agreed to strengthen the relationship for the advancement of the tea industry by establishing a joint venture by signing an MOU among the two parties. After the open discussion, the technical session was concluded at 1.30 pm and the members of low country tea association got exposure about activities going on the Laboratory Premises of the Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture related to tea technology. Also, they entertained with the university environment.
Gathering of VC, Dean, HOD, Academia, Members of Low Country Tea Planters Association & Students