Sri Lanka’s Halgolla certified as world’s first ‘regenagri’ certified tea estate

Kelani Valley Plantations PLC pioneers intellectual tourism concept and establishment of on-estate biodiversity conservation center

Kelani Valley Plantations (KVPL), a Hayleys Plantations company, proudly announced a historic achievement with its “Triple Crown of World Firsts” event. This milestone centers around Halgolla Estate, which has become the first tea estate in the world to achieve the highly prestigious ‘regenagri’ certificate for Regenerative Agriculture certification.

The announcement was made during a special ceremony attended by a prestigious gathering of dignitaries, industry professionals, sustainability experts and academics, including Hayleys Chairman and Chief Executive – Mohan Pandithage, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka and Maldives – HE Bonnie Horbach, Senior Policy Advisor of Agriculture, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands – Sri Lanka, Nishan Dissanayake and Deputy Head of the Mission Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka – Katsuki Kotaro and Hayleys Plantations Sector Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai.

regenagri CEO, Franco Constantini, Control Union Chairman for the Asia region and Board Member Dirk Teichert, Managing Director- Sri Lanka and Myanmar, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Country Representative Roshan Ranawake, Dr. Shamen Vidanage and other IUCN officials, Senior Academia, and other industry representatives were present.

A panel discussion featuring Senior Academia moderated by Prof. Sandun Perera discussed the significance of implementing Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Methods (OECMs) and illuminated valuable insights about Halgolla’s unique biodiversity heritage, and pioneering conservation efforts. Their discussion spanned a variety of critical topics regarding the balance between revenue generation and conservation, and how estates like Halgolla hold the key to unlocking a new paradigm in environmental conservation for Sri Lanka and the world. A particular focus was the elevated form of tourism that Halgolla has pioneered which has the potential for global emulation and adoption.

Commenting on Halgolla’s landmark achievements, Hayleys Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage said, “Our estates nurture rich natural resources, presenting a golden opportunity to unlock value and foster innovative concepts. Through sustainable diversification, we have the opportunity to empower communities, protect biodiversity, and fuel economic growth for our nation.

“Kelani Valley Plantations PLC, a Hayleys Plantations company, has been steadfast in its focus on ethical plantation management. Halgolla has achieved a ground-breaking milestone: it is now certified with RegenAgri, making it the world’s first tea estate to receive this well-deserved, prestigious recognition. This pioneering initiative exemplifies our unwavering commitment to responsible business, earning respect both nationally and globally, setting a future-ready model for the industry locally, regionally, and globally.”

Halgolla’s Regenagri Certification was awarded after a stringent process, evaluating the estate’s approach to farming that has to adhere to a variety of factors, including preservation of soil health, encouraging biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sequestering of CO2.

These audits, known for their rigour and critical nature, ensure full transparency and adherence to the highest environmental standards. The established programme also provides farmers with access to additional funding through carbon credit markets and environmental subsidies.

Halgolla is piloting this groundbreaking project in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy and Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Halgolla Estate has also set in motion plans to establish the world’s first biodiversity conservation and Knowledge Sustainability Center concept on a tea estate. This initiative represents a significant step towards preserving the rich biodiversity of the region and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. The estate’s efforts in implementing Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) are supported by Control Union, its sustainability auditors for the past 20 years. The rigorous environmental audit process conducted by Control Union is a testament to Halgolla Estate’s commitment to transparency and excellence in sustainability.

“The model of sustainability visible at Halgolla Estate is a prime example of the potential of plantations estates in the country. With the country’s renewed vigour towards tourism, combined with Hayleys’ focus towards value addition, Halgolla is leading the way for what we envision the future of the plantations industry to be,” said Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai.

In line with showcasing how green initiatives can boost Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, Halgolla Estate’s innovative intellectual tourism model, which has been shared with the government and aligned with the Central Environmental Authority, Forestry Department, and Department of Wildlife, offers a unique blend of education, culture, and sustainability.

Halgolla Estate’s participation in the renowned Pekoe Trail further cements its position as a premier eco-tourism destination in the region. This initiative appeals to the growing number of tourists interested in environmental and sustainability efforts, reinforcing Sri Lanka’s commitment to capitalize on these opportunities.

Halgolla Estate’s initiatives align with the broader goals of enhancing land health and community wealth. Its transition to holistic farming, along with pioneering intellectual tourism and biodiversity conservation, sets an inspiring global example. Halgolla Estate’s Triple Crown of World Firsts brings global recognition to Sri Lanka in innovative conservation and sustainability, setting a new benchmark for future initiatives.

Image 01: (From left) Hayleys Group Chairman and Chief Executive Mohan Pandithage, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Sri Lanka and Maldives – HE Bonnie Horbach, Control Union Chairman for the Asia region and Board Member Dirk Teichert and Hayleys Plantations Sector Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai receiving the regenagri certificate.

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