The Cargills "Village to Home" initiative was launched in September 2020 to support and develop the country's budding small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) by providing them with a platform to engage with a larger network of customers.
We carry out monthly “pola” like events at Cargills Food City carparks where selected SMEs get an opportunity showcase their products to the Cargills customer base. Cargills bears all expenses of the event and as a responsible corporate, we believe it is our social responsibility to support the SME community.
Through the “Village to Home” program, local entrepreneurs get the opportunity to promote their products in demarcated stalls. To date, we have seen an exciting array of traditional products including healthy, nutritious, Ayurveda herbal products, handloom and handicraft, cane and reed craft products, etc.
We collaborate with several government and other organizations to ensure the success of this initiative. The Small Enterprises Development Division (SED) of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) of the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, the Ministry of Cane, Brass, Clay, Furniture, and Rural Industry Promotion, and the Provincial Department of Agriculture (Western Province) have all assisted us in identifying potential SMEs.
The intention is to support SMEs who struggle to promote their products, experience financial difficulties, and have limited market access. Simply put, the goal of the “Village to Home” project is to expand the reach of our local SMEs by providing them with a larger marketplace. This program was a great support to them, especially during the pandemic. By providing our technical expertise in packaging and quality assurance, we assist them to improve the product quality. Cargills also contributes to their economic well-being through Cargills Bank, which supports the sustainability of the SME’s business.
All our dairy products are manufactured using local fresh milk which is a rich source of several essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Providing stalls and opportunities to showcase SME products at the monthly “Village to Home” is the initial outcome of this program. The Cargills team creates demarcated stalls outside the Food City premises to introduce these products to customers and sell them directly. We provide stalls, water, electricity, and other required infrastructure at no cost to the SME.
At the end of 2021, we have 80+ SMEs working closely with us on this program.
Cargills Bank provides financial assistance to SMEs by providing bank accounts, loan facilities, card facilities, and Lanka QR codes, which are accepted throughout the country.
We also provide training and advice to help them reach their full potential. We assist them with packaging, quality assurance, technical understanding, and in obtaining necessary certifications and standards.
We provide opportunities to these SMEs to list their products at Cargills Food City outlets as established suppliers.
To create more opportunities, promote their products, and increase income for SMEs, Cargills launched the Gondola program, which allows them to showcase their products in Cargills Food City outlets for a low shelf cost.
We collaborate with the Central Bank to hold the "Village to Home SME Training Program" to improve SME financial literacy and technical awareness. The training program focuses on the fundamentals of financial management and savings, market-oriented labeling, packaging, and provides a complete guide to financial services such as loans, credit cards, the process of creating long-term businesses, and so on.
The Village to Home program is often used by SMEs in the Hela Bojun project. Cargills will collaborate with Hela Bojun, which is a Ministry of Agriculture project. As an initial step towards providing a nutritious breakfast to the public, Cargills will provide the Food City premises to Hela Bojun to set up carts and sell their traditional, healthy, food items, while the Cargills QA team will audit the ongoing project to ensure a high level of quality.
The local SMEs who took part in this program are extremely grateful, not only for the income they were able to generate but also for the technical expertise they gained by working closely with the Cargills team. There have been many success stories to come out of the “Village to Home” program with some SMEs getting numerous other opportunities as a result. A noteworthy highlight was that some even managed to get export orders.
Radha Lanka Natural Food Products has a range of healthy food products made with traditional grains. Mediseed is one of the winner product which is a local grain-based milk powder substitute.
Chamara Cane products is an entrepreneur who produces cane furniture and handicrafts. We at Cargills are extremely proud to have him as a part of our Cargills village to Home Initiative. Through Cargills Village to Home program, he got exposure to a bigger clientele including export opportunities
GSK Products is a local SME that produces 100% natural herbal medicinal drinks such as Nilkatarodu / Butterfly pea flower drink and Yakinaran / Atalantia Ceylanica drink, which was introduced by the ‘Cargills Village to Home’ program. These products are listed in our Cargills food cities as well.