With the devastation of Coffee plantation in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in late 19th century, tea appeared as a god sent and the entire local economy shifted to the new crop within a few years. Expansion of tea as a plantation crop created great demand for labour in which the British brought poverty-stricken, ignorant and illiterate Tamils of South India to work on plantations. These workers were inhabited within the estate and for generations they shed their tears and blood to run the tea industry in country.
Maha Uva Estate is one of such establishments which dates back to 1865, then planted with Coffee and Cardamom and later converted in to a tea estate. It is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka with average elevation of 4700 ft and categorized under High Grown teas.
The management of estate was transferred to Janatha Estates Board from its colonial owners where privatized again in 1992. The life of the workers of the estate continued to be same for more than a century and for generations they lived and worked for the estate irrespective of the changes in its management.
A new hope was brought to these farmers when Bio Foods (Pvt) Ltd. has introduced the small farmer concept with its decades of experience in nurturing small scale farmer projects. As a result the workers became farmers with 2 acre tea blocks.
On the 10th of November 2016, Maha-Uva began processing of a new range of green and black teas, provided by small-farmers affiliated with the project, according to the sustainable ‘Farmer-Outgrower’ model. Prior to engaging with this project, these farmers were merely daily paid workers, but are now educated and trained to farm under a sustainable organic program.
Bio Foods ensures that organic and fairtrade teas are available to her buyers to fulfill the ever increasing demand from the leading North American and European buyers for organic and Fairtrade certified products. By utilizing a Pelton hydro-power system, this project ensures an organic production facility with no carbon emissions and a zero carbon footprint. This contributes to over two decades of Bio Foods history in sustainable, eco-friendly food production.