In Sri Lanka over the last year the company has developed and managed with Singapore based Asia Plantation Capital (APC), over 816 acres of mixed agroforestry plantations, and taken over the management of further lands extending to 1,600 acres. All Sri Lankan operations are conducted through locally owned and managed Sri Lankan companies under the management of Manjula Perera, the Sri Lanka companies CFO. The companies as a whole already employs upwards of 250 people and with planned expansion over the next few months this figure is forecast to increase to 500, with further associated support industries taking the total to well over 1,000 in the coming year. This will provide a much needed boost to the local economies. The company has a policy of training local people to carry out all its operations, from manual labourers up to professionally qualified executives. As a commitment to this policy it only brings in foreign management for training purposes to ensure the skills sets required remains within the country. This adds value to the local skill base and ensures that local professional jobs can be found, to reduce the overseas exodus of skilled labour, which is currently occurring in Sri Lanka.
Building on this foundation, APC are now developing major bio energy projects which are supported by community initiated renewable energy plantations, which have integrated farming for food and milk production. These projects will involve the entire rural community and surrounding villages, with the focus on poverty alleviation and development of rural areas, with schools and new road construction being two of the major benefits. Company spokesman Manjula Perera stated:
“Over the next 6 months we are commencing the development of up to 15 megawatts of biomass dendro power plants which will be supplied by our own existing and expanding energy plantations, supported by local communities, not as out growers but as partners within the overall initiative. The combined development costs of these projects which will total around $50 Million USD, is being funded entirely by foreign investment brought into Sri Lanka by Asia Plantation Capital and supported by The Africasia Fund”.
(Manjula Perera, 2010) africasiafund.com
These projects have been at the planning stage for over 12 months and work closely in support of the Sri Lanka governments green dendro power initiatives, which have recently been bolstered by the governments increased price tariff announcements with respect to dendro power production. These types of projects in Sri Lanka have fantastic support, and aim to make the country one of the “Green” power examples for the entire Asian region, by demonstrating how commercial power production can work hand in hand with environmental and community beneficial projects.
In Thailand, Asia Plantation Capital has also expanded its operations significantly over the last 12 months, with the acquisition of 7 plantations and the establishment of its pilot Bamboo Bio Mass Project which was sold out in just 2 months. As part of this successful and professional development the founders of The Kingdom 9 Golden Bamboo (K9GB) Power Projects have entered into an understanding to share technologies and information with APC. As part of this agreement, the advanced systems developed in Thailand to produce electricity, bio oils and other related side products, will be brought into Sri Lanka. The company’s own developing projects in Thailand are planning to establish, with the Kingdom 9 Project, 1,600 hectares of advanced energy plantations as well as its own dendro power plants, as part of the K9GB project. This is also planned to expand into neighbouring Laos, which represents a further community based development project, which may include some $70 million USD of inwards investment.
The benefit to Sri Lanka in particular with regards to the advanced technologies, is that it will be a major boost to the country’s fledgling bio energy industry. Asia Plantation Capital will be using the most advanced and sustainable systems in the world, as bamboo is widely regarded, alongside gliricidia, as amongst the most important bio mass crops and natural assets in the world today.
Working as an integral part of the project team is well known Sri Lankan bio energy and community developments program campaigner, Group Captain Nalin De Silva (retired), whose own organisation started producing bio energy in the New Year from their own community initiated project in the Anadurapura region of the country.
“The potential for Sri Lanka to become self-sufficient in power production from its own naturally managed resources, for the benefit of both the local communities at grass roots level and the population as a whole, has long been almost a dream for the Bio Energy Association of Sri Lanka and my own organisations, with the clear and forward thinking support of the government and its policy in this regard, the dream is now fast becoming a reality. Companies such as Asia Plantation Capital, who have been staunch supporters of Sri Lanka throughout its troubled times and not just arrived to take advantage of current economic improvements, should be given our whole hearted support at all levels. They are currently bringing in investments and knowledge to the country from countries that have long shunned Sri Lanka, the opportunities it presents and by working with our community initiated energy projects and combining the commercial aspect which foreign investment requires, I can see nothing but a win win situation for all concerned. It also has to be noted that through the continued support and promotion of inward investment Sri Lanka will open up more and more to the eyes of foreign countries and become a shining example of how adversity and troubles can be turned into humanitarian success. We should also like to thank Ganlath’s Law, one of Sri Lanka’s leading specialist Attorneys, specialising in assisting foreign companies establish operations with full Governmental support and Board of Investment approval for projects and support of Sri Lanka in bringing these projects to the attention of global investors through Plantation Capital.”(Nalin De Silva, 2010)
As well as success and expansion in the field, 2010 has been a successful year for UK based Plantation Capital at a corporate level, becoming a UK Plc. As part of a possible planned future listing in London, it has also more recently has been appointed representative of Porte Verde Financial Services, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK, enabling it to promote fund investments into the projects in Asia and beyond.
Plantation Capital Partners, Inc. in the USA has recently acquired large scale Timberland projects in the Southern USA and been appointed as advisors to a major European reforestation project and global private equity fund, more recently establishing separate companies developing Eco Plantation Homes plantationhomes.co.uk, which is beginning the development of eco plantation homes and tourism projects within the USA, Thailand and Europe. A major project in Sri Lanka, based on sustainable eco Homes built within totally self-sufficient plantation estates, has already started with the acquisition of land in the Badulla district of the country. We will also be working closely with local Buddhist Temples to not only showcase our excellent eco-tourism credentials in both Thailand and Sri Lanka but to make sure that local culture is not lost in the building of new homes in the area. All the homes will be built using locally produced sustainable materials, made from timber and bamboo and utilising the latest eco features for heating and cooling designed by award winning local and international architects.