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DateLine Thursday, 9 October 2008

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Ceylon Fresh Teas to export value added teas

Ceylon Fresh Teas (Pvt) Ltd, a gold award winner for bulk tea exports on larger category, at the recently held NCE awards ceremony, is looking for possibilities to enter the value-added tea export business in the future, its Director, Mahinda Wanniarachchi said.

He said, the company started three years ago as a small tea company has now blossomed into one of the major tea exporters in the country as recognised by securing a gold award for bulk tea export larger category at the event. Also he mentioned that Ceylon Fresh Teas is an ISO 22000; 2005 and HACCP certified company.

Today, the company is exporting to more than 20 countries including Iran, Dubai, China, Taiwan, Libya, Sweden and many more with leading three brand names namely Melora, Zad and Golzar brands for different market segments, he said.

The company has a packing factory at Ambatale to produce value-added tea.

The company had bought a land to set up another state-of-the-art factory in order to manufacture value added tea targeting to Russia, Europe and Middle-East markets, he said. The company exports more than two million kg of tea to various countries with an annual turnover of Rs 800 million in 2007, he said.

According to Wanniarachchi they started with little capital. Ceylon Fresh Teas ventured into exporting quality teas to the world in 2005 by a group of people with many years of experience behind them.

Workforce education on HIV/AIDS

The Sri Lanka Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (SLBCH) recently concluded HIV AIDS awareness programmes for some leading corporate sector companies as a promise to increase awareness of the HIV Virus as well as reduce the stigma and discrimination towards those living with the disease. Two of the awareness sessions that were conducted were for BASF Finlays and Dipped Products, both members of the coalition.

At an awareness programme

The training was conducted in both Sinhala and English to audiences that included the senior management of the organisations and also a session with production floor peer leaders. Trainers in this instance were provided by Standard Chartered Bank's HIV Champion pool of trainers, who are part of the Bank's extensive and internationally recognised Living with HIV Programmes.

"The importance of basic awareness that is essential to us as an organisation in Sri Lanka was reinforced by the Standard Chartered Bank trainers in their awareness training session. We all have a responsibility at every level to prepare our county and our employees to protect against this threat," said Managing Director, BASF Finlays Amal Perera.

The awareness programmes are conducted by the SLBCH at the request of member organisations and may be tailored to the requirements of specific audiences, ranging from a basic awareness, to training on counselling and even 'train the trainer' programmes. The SLBCH makes available a resource pool of trainers to members including trainers from Standard Chartered Bank, John Keell Holdings, ILO HIV Programme and the Labour Ministry.

"One of the most important features of this learning component is that we can now take these facts and figures as well as the interesting exercises we learnt on how easily HIV, like a false rumor can be spread, back to our factories and conduct our own training and awareness with this material," said D T Gunaratne, of D L factory, who had travelled to the Hayley's head office, just to be part of this special training conducted for all their peer leaders.

The coalition is also driving Sri Lanka's business sector to implement much needed HIV Work Place Policies throughout their organizations. The policy would provide a framework for action to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, avoid stigma towards those living with the disease and manage its impact on the labour force. The Coalition provides awareness training sessions and customised policy development services at no cost to the organisations. It also provides a platform for centers of expertise, resources and material to be shared.

Lifebuoy winners meet Yuvraj Singh

Some of the winners with Yuvraj

Health and hygiene hit a memorable sixer in Sri Lanka when Indian cricketing hero Yuvraj Singh, played host to 30 young winners of the Lifebuoy promotion designed to get young ones thinking about innovative ways in which germs can be terminated. The competition received thousands of entries.

Children from all over India participated in the competition vying for the prize of a trip to Sri Lanka and an opportunity to meet and greet Yuvraj. They were more than delighted with the experience of a lifetime they were able to enjoy at the Mount Lavinia Hotel when the evening began with the theme "Flavours of Sri Lanka".

The highlight of the evening was when the kids were treated to a demonstration of Yuvraj's inimitable cricketing techniques. In addition, the children participated in lively games of skill where they became indomitable germ fighters with the winners receiving instant gifts. Then in true Sri Lankan style, they witnessed some jazzy baila dancing round the flickering camp fire and ended up dancing to the baila themselves.

Before the evening ended the children had a host of autographed memorabilia and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be photographed with Yuvraj - a memory they will treasure always.


Magic Clean educates on germ free home

Managing Director Reazul Chowdhury, Marketing Director Zakaria Ahmed, Sales Director Sinclair Cruse, Brand Manager Surface Care Category Shenali Wickramaarachchi and Dr. Shiromala Fernando.

Harpic and Lysol are two of the leading cleaning and disinfectant brands from Reckitt Benckiser. The company has launched the 'Magic Clean' campaign to generate awareness and educate consumers about the importance of a germ free home. There is a belief that a surface that looks clean is also germ free, however studies in different countries have shown that look clean can be infected with high level of germs. Without using a proper cleaning product - it is not possible to remove the germs, which may lead to various germ borne diseases.

The "Magic Clean" Campaign, under the umbrella of two world famous brands - Hapric and Lysol was launched from Ratmalana in August 2008 where trained teams visit households and educate consumers on the importance of cleaning and disinfection. They also demonstrate the proper use of Harpic and Lysol on different surfaces to get a hygienic, clean and germ free surface.

Speaking at a media briefing held in connection with this campaign, Reckitt Benckiser's Managing Director for Sri Lanka, Reazul Chowdhury said "The findings in different countries highlight the low awareness of hygiene amongst households. The objective of this campaign is to educate the consumers on proper cleaning methods through our trained experts and ensure that Sri Lankan consumers take conscious efforts in making their houses germ free. We are there to support the consumers with two world's leading brands in surface cleaning - Hapric and Lysol."

Benji Garments invests Rs. 1.75 b on new factory

Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama, opened the new state of the art factory of Benji Ltd located at Bingiriya, Chilaw.

The investment of this BOI project totals Rs.1.75 Billion and employment generated will soon reach 2,000.

Benji Ltd will play an important role in creating new opportunities for the people of Bingiriya. The factory is part of the BOI's 300 Enterprises Programme, which is a progressive scheme of the Government of Sri Lanka to bring employment and other economic benefits to the less favoured areas.

It is an integral part of the Mahinda Chinthana Programme of the Government. Benji's products, essentially lingerie, will be exported to European and North American markets under world renowned brand names such as Calzedonia, Intimissimi and Tezenis and other reputed brands. The Minister, who was the Chief Guest at the opening of this company, part of the renowned Calzedonia Group from Italy, lauded the garment industry's contribution to the National economy. "We owe a great deal to the Garment industry in terms foreign exchange earnings and jobs created which have improved the standard of living and upgraded skills". Dr Amunugama said there was in 2007 a 15% growth in Sri Lankan exports for which garment industry had played a major part.

The Minister added that the 300 Enterprise Programme under which this project came was doing extremely well. "Every month 2-3 factories are opened. This has resulted in considerable growth outside the western Province. Currently, there is 12% economic growth in the Western Province, which is comparable to what was achieved by East Asian economies.

The Eastern Province when developed can add another 2% growth to the national figure and this is likely as the ongoing conflict is coming to an end soon".

He added that the energy shortage currently faced by Sri Lanka will be partly resolved by 2010 when the power plant in Puttalam will become operational and add 300 MW to the National Grid. This will encourage further investment into the country.

Dr Amunugama also stated that the area around Chilaw was emerging as the "lingerie capital of the world" with a number of major manufacturers represented in the area. This was a good example of niche marketing, a practice that would help the Sri Lankan garment industry succeed in the face of growing competition. The Minister also stressed the need for new thinking adding that garment factories were the "new Sigiriyas, Anuradhapuras and Polonaruwas".

Currently bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Italy totalled Euro 430 million in 2007. However the First Secretary of the Italian Embassy, Luca Fratelli, said that it was more than double than what was achieved in the previous 3 years. Much of this growth was the result of exports of Sri Lankan manufactured garments to Italy.

Chairman/ Director General of the BOI, Dhammika Perera, said that in 2007 Sri Lanka had achieved US$ 734 million in Foreign Direct Investment. This was the highest figure ever. Ultimately investment depends on the motivation of workers and their ability to be productive. He told the workers at the factory that they had the chance to work in excellent conditions and learn modern skills.


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