Priyantha Weerarathne, ‘Soora Goviya,’ with Pan Asia Bank CEO Nimal Tillekeratne
Launch of the drip irrigation system by Pan Asia Bank CEO Nimal Tillekeratne
Pan Asia Bank,with its island-wide network of 85 branches, has been working closely with the agriculture sector in recognition of the significant contribution made by this community, which is engaged in agriculture and related businesses, to the growth of the country’s economy.
Accordingly, under the guidance of the Development Banking Division of Pan Asia Bank, its Ambalanthota Branch recently identified the Beragama village within the Ambalanthota Divisional secretariat to initiate a Papaya cultivation project, using novel methodologies with Drip Irrigation solutions.
As per the Agro Ecological Regions classification in Sri Lanka, Ambalanthota falls under the Dry Zone Low Country classification with annual rainfall around > 20”. Hence, year-round rainfall cannot be expected in this region. Accordingly, suitable crops needed to be identified and recommended for cultivation during each season by considering the availability of water and other agro climatic conditions.
In order to mitigate the limiting factors arising due to climatic conditions, Pan Asia Bank offered financial assistance to cultivate crops with use of advanced technologies, together with suitable drip irrigation solutions to maximise the yield coupled with cost reduction in cultivation.
Prior to initiating the cultivation, awareness programs on technical aspects, soil analysing and fertiliser recommendations were introduced with the assistance of Uni-power Ltd., which provides agriculture inputs at a discounted price. Following a proper assessment, an evaluation study and a market survey, the bank decided to offer loan facilities to farmers under concessionary interest rates offered by CBSL through the available refinance schemes.
Pan Asia bank joined hands with Bartlett Agro-tronics Premier, which provided drip irrigation solutions for the project. The bank additionally focused on introducing benefit of energy efficiency leading to agricultural sustainability to the farming community while impacting the benefits to social and environmental systems and policies of our country.In addition, arrangements were made to provide technical assistance through a series of training programs targeting the responsible authorities.
At the commissioning ceremony of the Green Papaya Cultivation project, Pan Asia Bank Director/CEO Nimal Tillekeratne noted that all the above institutions with whom the bank has collaborated with, for the success of this project will deliver maximum benefits to the farmers.
Priyantha Weerarathne from the farming community, who was recognised and awarded by CIC Agri-Business as a ‘Soora Goviya’ in 2010, expressed his sentiments, saying this, will be a great opportunity for the farming community to enhance technical knowledge, learn of new agricultural practices as well as to engage in such economically viable projects introduced by the bank.
The bank also arranged for cultivators to sign Forward Sales Agreements with the main buyer, Sungrow Lanka Ltd., an exporter of hard green papaya to Middle-Eastern countries.
Pan Asia Bank remains firmly committed to promote better agricultural technologies, minimising the usage of water and reduce the cultivation cost substantially by joining hands with Global Climatic Partnership Fund (GCPF), which is an investment fund promoting energy conservation and sustainable development management globally. Further, the bank has also assigned a dedicated Micro Finance Officer, attached to its Ambalanthota branch, to establish relationships between the farmers and other stakeholders. With the collaboration of GCPF (Global Climate Partnership Fund), Pan Asia Bank has contributed immensely in the field of green lending in Sri Lanka and recently the bank’s efforts to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency activities were globally recognised when Pan Asia Bank was picked as the global winner for the award for outstanding efforts in energy efficient and renewable energy lending by Global Climate Partnership Fund (GCPF) for 2019.