Sri Lanka's plantation sector receives international recognition for best practices in Human Resource Development.

Dan Seevaratnam - Chief Executive, Watawala Plantations awarded Life Time Achievement Award at Asia Pacific HR Awards


‘Dr. Dan Seevaratnam (center) with the HRM award’

Sri Lankan plantation industry veteran Dan Seevaratnam was awarded the Life Time Achievement Award at The Asia Pacific HRM Congress, one of the most prestigious Human Resource summits in the world held in Bangalore, India, last week.

The award marks a significant achievement for the local plantation sector which is a people intense industry, being recognized internationally for best practices and human resource development. 

Multi-crop listed plantation firm Watawala Plantations, of which Seevartnam is the Chief Executive, was also given the 'Award for Institutional Building', the first ever plantation firm in the Asian region to receive the award, edging out strong contingent representation from countries like Singapore, India, Malaysia, and Pakistan.

Seevaratnam said that the international recognition received by the industry is a good indication that the quality of life in the estate community as well as working conditions have made a remarkable improvement over the decades. In light of the current issues faced by the industry, he said, “There is a greater role to be played by the employers and trade unions without crossing each other's paths; they should commit to work without caring about who gets the credit.”

In July this year, Seevaratnam was recognized by The Institute of Personal Management Sri Lanka (IPM) by conferring upon him its prestigious 'Lifetime Gold Award' for 2012. The annual awards recognize the passion and commitment of organizations whose innovative thinking and strategies have broken new ground in human resource management.

Commenting on the achievement Seevaratnam said, “This reflects the strong leadership in Sri Lanka's plantation sector that has sustained the industry  for the last 150 years. The awards indicate that there are people who recognize the contribution of the plantation sector to the economy.”

Asia Pacific Human Resource Management Congress consisting of HR leaders from renowned International Organizations, is a global resource forum that partners with 52 Asian countries. The congress awards organizations in various categories within the HR space, recognizing individuals and corporates for their best organizational and professional practices.

Seevaratnam is a firm believer in empowering people to perform to their highest potential. Spanning a four-decade career, he entered the industry as a Trainee Superintendent in a Sterling company, and thereafter rose through the ranks and pioneered a number of developments in Sri Lanka's plantation industry. Most of his initiatives were aimed at facilitating the 'paradigm shift' in the perception of an estate worker; from merely a laborer working for simple income to a profession that provides a 'dignified livelihood'.

Looking to the future of the industry Seevaratnam said, “My vision is to make Watawala Plantations the best managed agri-business in Asia.” 

Released in Sept 2012