Heritance Tea Factory was recently awarded the first organic certification in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) for the cultivation and processing of tea. After eight years of refining the processes used to cultivate and process organic black tea, green tea and herbal tea, the hotel emerged pioneers in achieving the organic certification.
Heritance Tea Factory is surrounded by lush tea plantations that stretch over an expanse of twenty five acres. The mini tea factory in the hotel serves as a processing plant that produces different flavours of tea that are consumed by guests at the hotel and can be purchased as souvenirs. The mission to achieve 100% organic status was first realised in the year 2005 when the hotel discontinued the use of all forms of chemical fertilizer, pesticides or weedicides in the tea plantation. Artificial material was replaced with greener substitutes such as compost manure that is produced at the Hotel’s in-house composting project; replaced fertilizer. The growth of gotukola as an underlayer in the tea plantation was encouraged to prevent the growth of weeds and help in nourish the soil.
The process of obtaining the organic certification involved a significant amount of hard work and dedication from the team at Heritance Tea Factory. The initial stages called for several tests that were carried out to analyze the condition of the soil and compost manure of the plantation. The tests were conducted at the Agricultural Research Centre in Kundasale and at the Tea Research Institute in Thalawakelle. Experimental samples were also collected from the tea leaves at the Heritance Tea Factory plantation, in order to analyze if the samples of tissues of tea leaves cultivated at the plantation met the specified criteria. The process also involved three site visits at different stages by the auditors from the Sri Lanka Standards Institute. The first audit was conducted to verify whether the standards met the criteria set by SLSI, the second audit was to measure the progress the Hotel made and to recommend further improvements where applicable and the third and final audit was to confirm the hotel’s suitability for certification.
“Heritance Tea Factory has experienced a positive impact with the achievement of being 100% organic. Guests at the hotel can witness the return of a myriad of birds and insects that once deserted the plantation. We are indeed proud of our achievement and promise to strive to sustain our green initiatives. It is with sincere admiration that I applaud the efforts of those involved in making this dream a reality” commented Mr. Roshanlal Perera, General Manager of Heritance Tea Factory, upon the achievement of the certification.
Heritance Hotels and Resorts operate a portfolio of five unique properties in scenic locations across Sri Lanka. The chain of hotels has been continuously recognized as a pioneer in sustainable tourism and continuously strives to sustain and innovate processes that reduce the impact of its operation on its surroundings.