Sri Lanka’s Hapugastenne Plantations expands pepper, cinnamon

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Hapugastenne Plantations has expanded pepper and cinnamon cultivation as well as forestry cover to diversify revenues, boost land use and protect the soil, the firm said.

"We consider it prudent to embark on a diversification strategy whilst reducing dependency on major plantation crops to expand the cinnamon plantations of the Company," Chief Executive Dushanth Ratwatte told shareholders in the annual report.

The firm has identified pepper, cinnamon and cocoa to diversify, from over dependence on tea and rubber. The company had added 24 hectares of cinnamon and planted 10,000 pepper vines using low-shade trees of tea plantation, increasing land use.

The firm had earned revenues of 26 million rupees from cinnamon last year. Another 8 million had come from pepper.

Hapugastenne had planted 800 hectares of rubber over the last 5 years, despite erratic prices making revenues volatile.

The company had also planted 1,493 hectares of timber trees. The plantations were less than 25 years old.

Sri Lanka privatized the plantations in the mid-1990s. Hapugastenne’s parent is Finlays group. Finlays UK has given Hapugastenne over 450 million rupees in loans at rates of 3.5 percent to 6.0 percent to invest. (Colombo/Mar06/2018)

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