The Sarubima project was established in the year 2008. Cargills initially contrived this project as a form of reimbursement to the farmers. For every kilogram of fruit and vegetables and every litre of milk sourced from local farmers, it adds 50 cents to a fund created for farmers in the community leading to an overall improvement in the livelihood of themselves, their families and communities. Since the company sources 120,000 kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables and 120,000 litres of milk every day, this money has now developed into a substantial amount and continues to be used to empower local farming communities. Over the years, this project has remodeled into a larger entity in itself and is now considered a vital part of Cargills’.
The Cargills Sarubima fund also made possible 49 community development projects across all its dairy and vegetable sourcing communities which included provision of drinking water, water purification projects, school development, library development as well as certified English and IT centres.
Today named the Cargills Sarubima fund, it provides: scholarships for needy children from the community, resources for learning and advancement, farmer insurance and to meet community infrastructure needs.As at 2014, Cargills has awarded over 250 scholarships across all these locations which included many medical, engineering and commerce stream university students. In addition, more than 3,000 farmer families have benefited from community facilities provided through the funds. For the year 2014/15, benefits included 204 scholarships with 35 university and vocational education scholarships, 65 Advanced Level scholarships and 104 Year 5 Scholarships. In addition, 18 exemplary farmers were recognized for their service to agriculture and the local community with the Cargills Sarubima Farmer Citizens Award 2015, presented by the President.
In 2016/17, the children of the farmers were provided with 225 scholarships including 92 University, Pirivena and Vocational Education Scholarships, 93 Advanced Level Scholarships and 40 Year 5 Scholarships. As of 2019, Sarubima has provided a total of 855 scholarships.
This commitment towards a better Sri Lanka stems from our core values as a responsible food company which accentuates our sentiment towards sustainability while attaining our vision which is to be a global corporate role model in community-friendly national development.
Throughout this journey, our unwavering responsibility towards sustainability has strengthened the trust and respect demonstrated in the values entrenched in our brands.
The scope of the Cargills Sarubima project is also applicable to our work with ensuring our products are up to standards on food safety regulations via the “Sarubima Agriculture Modernization Project'', which was established on the basis of increasing the farmers’ yield and reducing the costs pertaining to agriculture. Under this banner, farmers have been enabled to reduce chemical usage on their crops by the use of soil test based fertilizer, mitigate the impact of volatile weather conditions by taking advantage of micro irrigation, enhance farm mechanizations to minimize the usage of manual labor, minimize the in-field harvest losses and facilitated the farming of produce under the GAP Certification.
The growing concern with regards to the usage of fertilizer and agro-chemicals in agriculture gave rise to the ‘Save our Soil” project, a partnership between Cargills and the Department of Agriculture to educate and train the farming community on the efficient and the prudent use of agriculture inputs. As of 2019, 160 farmers have received training with 6 farmers and 2 extension officers provided a fully funded exposure visit to high-tech farms and technical parks in India to obtain first-hand experience and numerous farming lands have been tested to determine the optimal input requirements.
In order to tackle consumer concerns on the safety of the produce they purchase, Cargills introduced GAP certified vegetables to the market in 2018 with the support of the Department of Agriculture. GAP is a manual for the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture. This certification provides farmers with a collection of principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in the supply of safe and healthy food to the consumer. As of 2019, GAP-certified produce is available in 100 CFC outlets.
Furthermore, obtaining the SL-GAP certification is another platform in which the farmers’ demand and income are elevated by making them competitively viable. Most of the farmers participating in the Cargills Sarubima Agriculture Modernization Project go on to obtain Sri Lankan-GAP certification.