II. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO THE POLICY DECISION PROCESS
B. The evolution and existing structure of institutional arrangements for the tea sector in the various ministries and agencies
3. Ministry of Plantation Industries
The Ministry of Plantation Industries, is the supervisory line ministry for plantation crops, including tea. It is responsible for policy-making and developmental issues pertaining to the tea sector. Environmental issues now play an important role in its policy objectives, as is reflected in the five-year action plan for 1997-2001 in which the Ministry states its mission as being to "revitalize the sector by promoting economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially justifiable systems of production in the relevant areas".
In addition, the policies, objectives and targets of the Ministry under its action plan address specific environment related issues, the most important of which are: (a) the promotion of environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture and industry, and the production of high-quality products; (b) optimal, sustainable utilization of land and other resources; and (c) uplifting the living standards of the smallholders and plantation workers by providing better housing, safe drinking water and sanitary conditions.
The Ministry of Plantation Industries is the CEA-designated Project Approving Agency (PAA) for the plantations sector with regard to the EIA process. For that purpose, the institutional arrangement within the Ministry of Plantation Industries takes the form of an Environmental Cell, comprising core staff. Other specialists required for carrying out the EIA process are co-opted to the Environmental Cell as required. Environmental Cells have also been created in other ministries and agencies designated as PAAs by CEA to cover other sectors.
The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) has two functional arms, i.e., the Tea Commissioners Division, which also has a tea export section, and the Tea Promotion Bureau. They deal with the trading and supervision of manufacturing operations (including granting assistance) as well as the promotional aspects of tea.
The Sri Lanka Tea Research Board (SLTRB) is the State agency that carries out all research related to the tea sector, including both the growing and processing aspects; SLTRB, which is located in the tea-growing hill country, has several specialized functional divisions that deal with agricultural chemistry, tea agronomy (including fertilizer applications), plant physiology, entomology, biochemistry, advisory services, statistics etc., as well as laboratory facilities. Each of the specialized divisions is manned by qualified and experienced scientific staff. A recently established Land-use Divisionfocuses on soil erosion and soil degradation issues as they also affect productivity in the tea sector (see chapter IV). SLTRB activities have a significant bearing on policy decisions related to environmental issues and they set the standards for the sector.
SLSPC and JEDB are the State agencies that manage the large State plantations which have not been privatized. The Tea Small Holdings Development Authority (TSHDA) is the State agency that supervises and assists private tea small holdings. Their policy decision-making bodies are the respective Boards of Directors.
The Tea Traders' Association and the Tea Planters' Association are active private sector institutional arrangements which work closely with the Ministry of Plantation Industry, SLTB and other related State agencies. They channel private sector concerns and perceptions on environmental issues which have an impact on their respective functions, either directly to the Ministry of Plantation Industry or to the Ministry through SLTB, for consideration when policy decisions are to be made.