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CARGILLS THANAMALWILA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FUND AWARDS 50 SCHOLARSHIPS TO GANGEYAYA CHILDREN

5/24/2011 12:00:00 AM   

CONTRIBUTION OF OVER 1.2 MN RUPEES FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Cargills (Ceylon) PLC through its farmer community development fund in Gangeyaya, Thanamalwila recently awarded 50 scholarships for higher education for children from the community. Hon. Jagath Pushpakumara, Minister of Coconut Development and State Plantation Development was the chief guest at the awards ceremony held on May 23, 2011. In addition 06 laptops sponsored by Deutsche Bank as part of its ‘Children of Change’ initiative, were awarded for students from the area pursuing University education. 22 homes in the Gangeyaya village were also granted pipe-borne water through the project. A desk top PC and an internet connection were provided to the community centre library along with 100 chairs and 3 tables for the community centre. The total contribution to the community was Rs. 1.278 million.

This comes as part of the annual community development initiative planned by Cargills together with the farmer community and World Vision Lanka. This year the community development fund is also partnered by One Trust Sri Lanka, the philanthropic arm of Cargills and the ‘Children of Change Project of the Deutsche Bank.

Explaining the project, Mr. Haridas Fernando, Deputy General Manager- Agribusiness for Cargills said, “every time Cargills buys a kilogram of vegetables from the farming community in Gangeyaya 50 cents goes back to a community development fund. Annually the funds are utilized for scholarships and projects that would develop the quality of life of this community.”

Since the Cargills Fresh Produce Collection Centre was established in April 2008 Cargills has purchased produce worth over Rs 160 mn from the farmers of Gangeyaya.

Cargills committed to an enduring relationship with farmers and their communities

Mr. Sidath Kodikara Chief Operating Officer of Cargills –Retail noted that at Cargills the relationship the company establishes with farmers is also a bond cultivated with the fields they sow, the families they nurture, the communities they live in and the schools where their children learn. “We have initiated farmer community development funds where 50 cents is given back to the village against kilogram of vegetables purchased from our farmers. This fund is used to provide scholarships for needy children from the community, to provide resources for learning and advancement, to meet basic community infrastructure needs such as utility connections, community centres, libraries etc. Our focus is to engage the communities that work with us to charter their own course of development.” The Cargills Food City retail chain of 159 outlets spread across the 25 districts of the island provides bulk of the market to vegetables directly purchased from the farmers of Thanamalwila and other parts of the island.

A Global Role Model

The Cargills focus on rural development involves its direct investment in and engagement with the agriculture sector. The Company’s investments have improved livelihoods for rural Sri Lankans in economically meaningful, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible ways. “Cargills continues to offer prices above the wholesale market to farmers along with technical inputs, training, market information while facilitating credit. Through our retail chain and now with our manufacturing facilities we have created a revolutionary shift in taking the market to the farmer. Today we have taken this a step further by taking development to communities,” Mr. Kodikara explained.

Today Cargills is a global role model in corporate driven rural development studied by organizations such as the World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, London School of Business etc. Each year, Cargills works directly with thousands of farmers and small scale entrepreneurs to help increase their productivity, thereby helping to raise their standard of living while creating access to new and lucrative markets. “Our agribusiness team works directly with farmers to overcome challenges, providing knowledge and resources to help farmers succeed. Across Sri Lanka thousands of farmers have participated in Cargills productivity and product quality enhancing programs. We have committed to expanding this program to a larger farmer base island wide to help improve efficiencies and increase incomes” Dr. Jagdish Katyal, Director Consultant Agribusiness of Cargills concluded.