Tuesday, 8 October 2013 00:15
The Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) Ltd. Distributors’ Association recently became the first-ever external donor to the Sustainable Agricultural Development Program (SADP) by committing to support 100 new families in the program.
With a pledge of over Rs. 3.5 million, the island-wide network of 18 distributors has committed to supporting 100 beneficiaries from the Southern Province through the four stages of the program conducted over a period of 30 months.
Outreach Projects (Guarantee) Ltd. is CTC’s CSR arm and SADP is its flagship CSR program, which is designed to empower rural villagers who are living below the poverty line in the country.
Based on the philosophy of “helping those who are willing to help themselves,” SADP participants register on a voluntary basis, and receive increments of input rather than cash hand-outs. Success is solely based on the commitment of the enrolled families who are introduced to home gardening and animal husbandry through the program, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and resources to improve their livelihood.
Commenting on the donation, Chandana Wickramaratne of the CTC Distributors’ Association said: “We are extremely proud to be the first external contributors to SADP, a CSR initiative which is so instrumental and effective in enhancing the quality of life of its participant families. In addition to helping rural villagers, being involved in this project gives us the advantage of being exposed to CSR best practices which have been proven through effective implementation.”
An independent study conducted on SADP revealed a significant improvement in a family’s daily nutritional intake after joining the program, with a considerable intake increase in protein, vitamins, calcium and iron. The results also revealed that a graduate family could earn an additional income of over Rs. 14,000 per month.
SADP is conducted in four stages spanning a period of two and a half years, at the end of which the participants reach self-sustenance. During ‘Stage One’, families are registered and taught to develop their own parameter fencing and compost pits, educated about vegetable and fruit cultivation and provided plants and seeds to begin their own home gardens.Once families reach ‘Stage Two’, they are introduced to poultry farming, adding the much needed protein source of eggs to their daily meals.
‘Stage Three’ introduces the SADP families to goat raringand mushroom cultivation, providing them with a source for milk and other dairy-based products, as well as an additional means to increase their income.Once the families have successfully completed these stages and reached self-sustenance, they graduate from the program. SADP officers continue to visit families ‘Post-Graduation’ to ensure the continuity of their agriculture learning and practices. No cash hand-outs are given to the families at any stage.
Launched in 2005, SADP operates in 14 districts in Sri Lanka. Over 16,100 families are currently enrolled in the program, with the total number of beneficiaries exceeding 57,400.