CTC highlights Sustainable Agricultural Development Program’s progress through ‘SADP Pola’

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The ‘SADP Pola’ featuring the produce grown by beneficiaries of Ceylon Tobacco Company’s flagship CSR initiative, the Sustainable Agricultural Development Program (SADP), was recently held in Colombo for the third consecutive year. This year, the fair was declared open by CTC Chairman Susantha Ratnayake.

The SADP Pola is an annual fixture on CTC’s calendar and features fruits, vegetables, bees’ honey, treacle and other produce grown by farmers registered under the SADP across 14 districts in Sri Lanka.

In 2005, CTC launched SADP with the aim of empowering rural villagers through the simple philosophy of ‘helping those who are willing to help themselves’. SADP aims to improve nutrition levels of these communities and provide additional income through agriculture.

“SADP has supported thousands of farmers island-wide and enabled them to achieve self-sustenance through the guidance of our century-plus expertise in agriculture. The SADP POLA is not only an opportunity for these farmers to market their produce for additional income, but also a marketplace for CTC’s employees to appreciate the empowerment and efforts delivered by the company at the grassroots,” remarked CTC Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Felicio Ferraz.

Through SADP, families are taught to use their own land and garden areas – thus far unutilised – to grow their own produce. They are introduced to animal husbandry, beekeeping, and mushroom cultivation, ensuring a steady supply of fruits, vegetables, as well as fresh milk and eggs, which helps meet their daily nutritional needs.

Today, SADP has benefited over 12,000 rural families around the country and the SADP Pola held each

From left: A project representative welcomes CTC Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, CTC MD/CEO Felicio Ferraz, CTC CSR Manager Senaka Fonseka, CTC Director – Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Dinesh Dharmadasa and CTC Finance Director Ariful Islam to a stall

year, aims to introduce these beneficiaries to like-minded stakeholders that are willing to support the programme and highlight the progress they are making.

The families are able to achieve self-sufficiency as SADP gives them an additional means of income through the sale of excess produce in their respective villages. Further, the females in the community are empowered, as SADP makes them equally responsible for revenue generation, and helps them fulfil their role as caretakers of the family by providing basic nutrition to their children.

Under SADP, farmers are educated on the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and they are educated on how to use organically produced pesticides instead of chemical-based products. Families are also taught how to make compost to avoid using artificial fertilisers. Techniques such as this, improves the overall soil organic matter content, and helps prevent soil erosion that in turn, enhances farming practices. It also results in an organic produce – the consumption of which greatly reduces health risks.