I recently returned from the lovely city of Kandy in central Sri Lanka where I had been meeting the implementation team for the roll-out of our safe use of agrochemicals training programme. 18 members of the Plantation Human Development Trust, their Director of Health (Dr Ravi Nannayakkara) and myself spent an intense day reviewing the outcomes of the pilot sessions we had recently run. We brainstormed where improvements could be made, both in content and in how it's delivered to the sprayers and the children that live on the estates. As well as making some practical changes to the training, we will also ensure that the links to integrated pest management are clearly made, as this should help to reduce the need for pesticides.

Feedback at the meeting also confirmed that the pilot workshops had been warmly received by both the workers and the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), with a number of companies already asking us to expand the training to other estates within their group.

We’ve a lot of hard work ahead of us, with 30 training sessions planned over the next six months but I am looking forward to it. We’ve planned one of the sessions for Tuesday 31st January 2012, two days before the International Tea Convention. This means that members of ETP who are attending the convention can shadow one of our training days, and witness first hand how ETP is working to improve the use of agrochemicals in the tea sector.