NDB ‘KurunduKavaya’ empowers over 200 cinnamon growers in Sabaragamuwa

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

NDB ‘KurunduKavaya’, a micro financing scheme that aims to help sustain livelihoods of cinnamon home growers was extended to the Sabaragamuwa Province; with the distribution of ‘Divi Aruna’ micro-loan facilities to selected cinnamon cultivators and prospective entrants to the industry from rural villages in Ratnapura, Balangoda and Embilipitiya. The micro loan facilities granted at concessionary interest rates are expected to encourage the small scale growers to remain in the industry. The loans were distributed at a special ceremony, which was followed by a technical training session. Speaking at the training session, I.K. Ruwansiri of the Cinnamon Research Centre of Thihagoda, shared valuable technical insight on effective and efficient methods of cinnamon cultivation for the benefit of small scale growers that attended the event. Deputy Director of the Ministry of Export Agriculture Keerthi Weeralal shared his expertise on soil nutrient restoration and management techniques that would result in ideal soil conditions for cinnamon growth. Thushari Liyanage, Assistant Director at the Cinnamon Research Institute of Matale speaking at the forum, encouraged the micro level growers to get involved in the forward integration of the cinnamon industry by sharing with them a range of value added cinnamon product ideas. KapilaDeshapirya, Manager Refinance of NDB highlighted the unique significance of Sri Lankan Cinnamon and its export potential to the participants while Shalika Priyangani, Officer of Micro Finance at NDB explained the technical particulars of the micro loan facility to the participants. NDB Kurundu Kavaya is part of the ‘Grow Cinnamon’ campaign which was inaugurated at a ceremony held in Ambalangoda a few months ago, with the disbursement of microfinance facilities to over eighty selected growers in the southern region. NDB Kurundu Kavaya program is scheduled to be extended to cinnamon growers across other regions in the country with the continued support of the Ministry of Minor Export Crop Promotion  and Department of Export Agriculture. NDB’s KurunduKavaya programme was initiated in conjunction with the Bank’s ‘Cinnamon to the world’ project. NDB pioneered ‘Cinnamon to the World’, with the aim to empower cinnamon growers, exporters and cinnamon related product manufacturers in the country; with a vision to stimulate cinnamon export growth in Sri Lanka. NDB’s ‘Cinnamon to the World’ is a long term strategy rolled out to partner the industry; with a view to help ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ achieve recognition as an international brand synonymous with the country’s unique identity. As such, NDB’s association with the industry spans from grass root level home growers to large scale exporters. This affiliation is not only be limited to financing but also encompasses empowerment and strengthening of the support system; thus creating a conducive environment for accelerated growth. Besides, promoting the national cause of livelihood development at grass root level through sustainable financial inclusion has always been a focal area for NDB. The bank has pioneered many initiatives in this regard, truly fulfilling its commitment towards this worthy national cause. With the socio-economic boom subsequent to the cessation of the war, the bank has intensified its growth strategies towards the rural sector which essentially forms the backbone of the country’s economy. Considering that over 80% of Sri Lanka’s population consists of rural population, NDB’s focus and emphasis on the rural economies is both vital and timely. Coagulating NDB’s objectives for financial inclusion, the revolutionary loan scheme titled ‘DiviAruna’ (awakening of lives) was commenced in 2010, aimed at developing livelihood for prospective entrepreneurs not within the mainstream of banking. The primary feature of NDB DiviAruna micro financing scheme is that no collateral is taken as security for the loans. Loan approval is primarily based on the bank’s evaluation of the applicant’s vocation and its confidence in the success of the enterprise. NDBDiviAruna loan scheme also aims to promote a savings culture while including the marginalised and the overlooked into the main banking stream. Supplementing the loan scheme therefore, is an investment based savings scheme where it is mandatory for the borrowers to contribute an additional agreed amount every month towards a savings build up which could be used as collateral for future expansion of business activity. To date, NDB has financed projects across a gamut of industries, supporting over 1,300 families through its DiviAruna loan scheme. Today, Divi Aruna has evolved as an integral part of NDB’s business proposition. It is now being further expanded and streamlined to include targeted market segments such as the small scale agriculturists and dairy farmers who already maintain supplier linkages with Industry Leaders, and new organisations formed under the supervision and guidance of NDB.