Challenges faced by the private sector in establishing eak plantations in Sri Lanka
Abstract of a seminar presentation
Teak was introduced to Sri Lanka in 17th century by Dutch. It was widely planted in dry and intermediate zones after 1950s. Teak has a long history of systematic management. The earliest Teak plantations in Sri Lanka are traced back to the late seventeenth century. Teak planting, which was once mainly the domain of government forest departments, is today attracting the interest of the private sector. The private sector has taken advantage of technical developments has succeeded in attracting private individuals to invest in teak.
Many private companies involve in Teak planting in Sri Lanka such as:
Forestree Investments limited - a subsidiary of Access Group of Companies
Sadaharitha Plantations Limited
HELP GRRN “Wanasarana” Teak Plantation Project
Green Vision Lanka Private Limited
In Sri Lanka first private sector large scale commercially managed teak plantation was started by Help Green (Pvt) Ltd in 1998 with a unit which is equivalent to a land extent of 41.6 perches with 100 teak trees.
The expected final harvest of the private forest plantations are much shorter than that of the Forest Department plantations and therefore very high financial inputs are necessary to uplift such plantation conditions.
Among the major challenges faced by the private sector in establishing teak plantations, land unavailability, social issues, environmental issues, lack of scientific information and research, management problems and unforeseen catastrophes (insects, pests, animal damages, weeds, and uncontrolled fires) become prominent. Quality of timber cut from private sector plantations will also be a major issue because timber cut from old teak trees which grow slowly in natural forests is more durable and harder and teak from young trees grown in plantations may be more prone to splitting and water damage.
The private sector Teak planters have successfully identified many of the above mentioned challenges and they have taken actions in order to avoid economic loss which can be caused due to those issues.