Cargills food Sri Lanka’s leading supermarket chain has launched its first vegetable and fruit wholesale price display terminal at its fresh produce collection centre in Thanamalwila. The terminal was ceremonially declared open by the minister of Coconut Development, Jagath Pushpakumara last week.
The launch of the wholesale price terminal further reiterates the commitment of Cargills towards the empowerment of small scale farmers. “Cargills continues to offer the prices above the wholesale market to farmers along with technical inputs training and marketing information while facilitating credit. Through our retail chain and our group’s manufacturing facilities we have created a revolutionary shift in taking the market to the farmers. Today with this launch of the price terminal we have taken a step further by providing market intelligence for the farmers” said the Chief operating officer-retail, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, Sidath Kodikara. He added the price terminals would be launched at all collection centers under the group including Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya and Bandarawela.
Cargills had during the year concluded collected over 3,800 metric tons of fruits and vegetables from the Gangeyaya community in Thanamalwila to the value of Rs 238m. The ceremonial launch of the Cargills wholesale price terminal was held alongside the distribution of Rs 1.9m worth of benefits to the farmer community as part of Cargills farmer community development fund established in Gangeyaya, Thanamalwila.
Over 40 scholarships were awarded to students who have passed Grade 5 scholarship exams and those pursuing Advanced Level and External Degrees, and five laptops were awarded to students from the area pursuing University education. 54 students who are from families facing economic challenges were also granted learning material while a further 15 farmers who have made the highest contribution towards fresh produce collection from area were given farming equipment. In addition a resting shelter and 100 chairs were donated to the farmer society while plastic crates for post-harvest transportation were distributed among 30 farmers along with the launch of the wholesale price display terminal.
Cargills Food City also provided HNB Assuarance farmer insurance schemes for 137 farmers free of charge. The scheme covers farmers’ death, disability and permanent disability as well as healthcare benefits. This disbursement of benefits comes as part of the annual community development initiative planned by Cargills together with the farmer community and World Vision Lanka.
General Manager, Retail operations of Cargills, Keerthi Gunasekara added “We have developed a similar fund at our collection centers in Jaffna and Moneragala with plans to expand the concept to all farmer communities we work with. The funds provide scholarships for needy children from the community, resources for learning and advancement and even meet basic community infrastructure needs such as utility connections, community centers and libraries etc. Our focus is to engage the communities that work with us to charter their own course of development”.
Speaking to The Nation a farmer from Gangeyaya, D.G. Nandasena stated, “We are gaining lot of advantages and it’s very convenient to sell vegetables to Cargills. Even today I brought 500kgs of vegetables to the center. The only problem we face is that the transportation as the bridge we use is n a dilapidated state. We have come through a different route after gaining permission from the Wild Life Department as the road passes through thick jungle and also dangerous. It will be a great help if the authorities take steps to reconstruct the bridge as early as possible which will also save lot of time in transporting our produce.
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