By Raj Moorthy
Dilmah, the only Sri Lankan tea brand that has established a presence in 100 countries, is setting up the world’s first Climate Research Station at Queensberry Estate in Nawalapitiya.
This was revealed by Dilmah Tea CEO and Director Dilhan Fernando during a forum organised by the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC) titled ‘Sri Lanka Inc: Challenges and Opportunities’ held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo on Monday. (More details of the STBC event will appear next week).
The research station was due to be declared open yesterday (Saturday October 28). Construction of the station commenced in 2014, he added.The research station built at an elevation of 1645 metres, the highest point of any estate at Dilmah-owned Kahawatte Plantations, will facilitate future research in measuring changes in climatic patterns in the country. The facility will be used by leading experts on climate science, to study general trends as well as to determine accurate weather patterns to be experienced across the country.
According to Dilmah Conservation on sustainability report, research on climate change trends has identified that Sri Lanka is highly susceptible to global climate change phenomena owing to its island location and close proximity to the equator. The potential impacts of climate change are already visible and currently being experienced with changes in rainfall patterns and temperature levels. It is a rising global challenge and the pace at which the world is responding is too slow in order to balance the adverse effects the country is experiencing now.
The station will be used by researchers from the Department of Zoology, University of Colombo to conduct research during different periods of the year. They will also continuously contribute to the management of the facility.
The Dilmah Conservation Climate Change Advisory Committee comprises: S. Premalal (Director General- Meteorologyl Department); Dr. Shiromani Jayawardena (Deputy Director. Climate Change Research – Meteorology Department); Prof. P. Wickramagamage (Prof. Emeritus – Geography Department, University of Peradeniya), Dr. B.V.R. Punyawardena (Head Agroclimatalogy and Climate Change Division- Department of Agriculture); Prof. W.A.J.M. De Costa (Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya); Prof. S.P. Nissanka (Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya); Dr. Erandathie Lokupitiya (Faculty of Science, University of Colombo); Dr. Mahlon P. Rambukkange (Faculty of Geography, University of Peradeniya); Prof. Sarath Kotagama (Prof. Emeritus, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo/ Representing Dilmah Conservation Advisory Panel); Dr. Lareef Zubair (FECT/ University of Colombia); Dilhan C. Fernando (CEO, Dilmah Tea Company PLC/ Dilmah Conservation) and Asanka Abayakoon (Secretarial Support, Dilmah Conservation)
Research conducted at the field station will provide necessary models required for sustainable agricultural practices which relate to changing precipitation patterns as well as provide insight into climatic changes that can be expected in the tea growing regions of Sri Lanka.