CTC’s Farmer Appreciation Awards recognise excellence in agriculture

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Rewards 78 farmers from across the country for sustainability, productivity and quality Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) recently recognised excellence among one of its most important business partners at the annual Farmer Appreciation Awards ceremony. Held for the ninth consecutive year, the Awards recognised and rewarded 78 farmers from six provinces for achieving superiority in sustainability, productivity and quality while contributing to the business of the company. The Farmer Appreciation Awards for 2012 was held under the theme of sustainability, with Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena gracing the occasion as Chief Guest.  Other distinguished guests from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Irrigation, Divisional secretaries, university staff, assistant agrarian commissioners and the Mahaweli Authority were also in attendance. Commenting on the annual Farmer Appreciation Awards, Chief Executive Officer of CTC Felicio Ferraz said: “As a responsible company utilising the natural resource of the country, we at CTC are acutely aware of the need for environmental conservation and sustainable business practices. The Farmer Appreciation Awards are a means of recognising the efforts of our farmer community towards achieving these objectives, while encouraging further initiatives and improvements in the future. Our leaf farmers and producers are an integral part of an industry which infuses Rs. 1.5 billion into the rural economy and contributes Rs. 72.4 billion to the Government as tax revenue. Thus, it is only fitting that the outstanding performers from this important stakeholder group be recognised.” The award recipients are those who have adopted best practices in agriculture to maximise productivity while conserving the soil, water and bio-diversity. This makes them apt role models, not only for other leaf farmers, but all farming communities, and will function as examples of how to become successful and sustainable citizens through agriculture. In addition to being recognised in the presence of the Minister of Agriculture, other dignitaries and CTC officials, the 78 farmers awarded at the annual Farmer Appreciation Awards received valuable porcelain sets, as well as certificates, in recognition their achievements. An efficient leaf farmer community results in CTC sourcing all raw materials locally, which in turn saves the country a significant amount on imports. This gives CTC added incentive to continue to improve and enhance its growing operations, and the company has utilised the Sustainable Agriculture Devel-opment Program (SADP), its flagship CSR initiative, to this end. Under SADP Ultra, a hybrid of the original program, CTC’s leaf farmers are empowered by introducing better crop management techniques and improving their contribution to national food production. Farmers are encouraged to introduce other field crops such as vegetables, luffa maize, green gram, and cowpea, which fulfil their dietary requirement as well as provide an additional source of income. Launched earlier this year, this initiative will benefit 4,100 leaf farmer families in the introductory year alone.