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Cargills awards farmer leaders across Sri Lanka

20 April 2015 08:46 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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President Maithreepala Sirisena awarded 18 vegetable and dairy farmers from across Sri Lanka at the Cargills Saru Bima Farmer Citizen’s award at a ceremony held at the BMICH yesterday.
The occasion also saw over 200 students receiving scholarships towards higher education while 500 farmers received medical insurance policies during the ceremony.
 Issuing a message ahead of the ceremony, the President said, “Cargills has been successful in popularizing the ‘supermarket’ concept which provides to the consumer, the convenience of purchasing the daily household essentials under one roof. I appreciate the initiatives taken by Cargills to maintain a price balance between the producer and the consumer by resorting to the direct purchase of agricultural produce from the farmers. This company has gone a further step forward by establishing a ‘Fund’ through which the children of farmer families are granted assistance to further their educational pursuits.  This is a very commendable project which should be emulated by other organizations too,”
Cargills (Ceylon) PLC first engaged the local agriculture community in 1999 with the commencement of its first collection centre for vegetables. Today this reach has created direct markets for over 10,000 farmers across Sri Lanka sourcing 80,000 metric tons of fruits and vegetables and 90,000 litres of milk every day. Cargills agribusiness teams work directly with farmers to overcome challenges, providing knowledge and resources to help farmers to succeed. 
Cargills Saru Bima is a fund established in 2008 in Thanamalwila where the Company initiated a concept of giving-back 50 cents for each kilogram of vegetables purchased from the farmers in the community to be utilized for community empowerment. 
 Explaining the concept Ranjit Page, Deputy Chairman of Cargills said, “ The relationships we establish with farmers is a bond Cargills has with the fields they sow, the families they nurture, the communities they live in and the schools where their children learn. Cargills has therefore initiated the Cargills SaruBima fund which is used to empower agriculture communities and their children.  “
From Thanamalwila the Funds were later extended to Ruwalwala, Boralanda, Jaffna and Kilinochchi. “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. Many would call it a CSR project but we have made it an integral part of our core business. Today it’s built into our business model and defines who we are and what we stand for as an enterprise,” Page added.
 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 H.E. The President. 
The event brought together more than 1000 farmers from vegetable and dairy farmer organizations from across the island and was also attended by officials of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Department of Agriculture (DOA), Horticulture Research and Development Institute (HORDI), Provincial Directors, Divisional Secretaries, University academia as well as members from civil society and diplomatic community. 

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