Sri Lanka

The most critical part of the project was launching the mechanism to market the products of the farmers by initiating the mobile unit to collect products and to sell them in the towns and cities.
Mr. Priyantha Kumara
Grantee, National Nature Farming Network

This project was approved to meet the market needs of these farmers who produce multiple kitul palm (Caryota urens) products, pulses, vegetables, organic rice, yams and tubers, spices and value added products such as sweet meats, pickles and jams and others. They have been linked to the Agrarian Services Dept., Agriculture Dept., and other national projects of the government such as community water supply, Gemidiriya (Village Awakening) and Divi Neguma (Livelihood Development) projects of other government Ministries.

Priyantha states that "of the services rendered by the project, foremost is launching the mechanism to market products of the farmers by initiating the mobile unit to collect products and sell them in the towns and cities mainly Colombo, the capital city. For this end, one small vehicle was purchased for collecting products of farmers from the villagers and a bigger vehicle to use as a mobile unit to display and sell products. In these transactions, knowledge and experience exchanges have been facilitated as well as planting materials and seeds among the farmers. Training programmes for the famers have strengthened their capacities and been a successful initiative in confidence building"

For the results and benefits of the project Priyantha says – "Having a regular market and a fair price for the farmers 'products, and eliminating the middle man even though some percentage has to be deducted for the expenses. The buyer comes to their farm or the home garden and also ensures a higher price for quality products especially for value added products. The products are constantly being evaluated by relevant govt. departments as they are frequently requested to participate and sell products in national level fairs and exhibitions.

The buyers are also ensured of a quality, genuine organic product which they can purchase either in their office premises (the mobile unit is invited to many agencies and institutes during office hours) or close by place. Small scale farmers now get the money into their hands at the time of sale as opposed to getting paid only when the goods are sold. They also save on transport costs and packing costs.

Avenues to obtain facilities and subsidies from the government has been opened to small farmers for e.g. fertilizer, releasing Kitul farmers from the requirement of getting a police permit to tap kitul palms in bufferzone forests traditionally used by villagers, facilitating a system of identity cards for kitul farmers and obtaining equipment such as tapping knives, mammoties, waist belts when climbing the palms, raincapes and hats have been made easy with the close interaction with the relevant government departments built through the project. They also found it easier to get permission to do conservation activities in their forests from which they were banned earlier, and develop livelihoods accordingly."

SGP reaches out to remote communities, gives them the freedom to express their views, poses their problems in a language familiar to them, and brings these to a platform where they are heard and action is taken.
Ms. Shireen Samarasuriya
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