Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
CTC empowers over 16,000 families through SADP
Two hundred families in the village of Borala in Weligama, in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka were enrolled in Ceylon Tobacco Company’s flagship CSR initiative, the Sustainable Agricultural Development Programme (SADP) recently. SADP is a unique effort by the company, designed to empower rural villagers living below the poverty line in Sri Lanka through home gardening.
The new beneficiaries were inducted to the programme by Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, taking the total number of families enrolled in SADP in Weligama up to 600.
Working on the philosophy of “helping those who are willing to help themselves”, some of the salient features of SADP are voluntary registration, no cash handouts and the increment of resources based on the commitment of the beneficiaries to rise above poverty.
Speaking on the project, Minister Abeywardena said, “SADP is truly an inspiring programme that has displayed remarkable results in a very short span of time. It’s one of the most successful sustainable livelihood development models in the country, aligning itself to the government’s priorities such as ‘Api wawamu Rata Nagamu’ and ‘Divi Naguma’ programmes. Agriculture is a major economic force in Sri Lanka that makes a significant contribution to our economy, national food security and employment. Seeing the vast improvements in the lives of SADP beneficiaries is truly encouraging.”
SADP, launched in 2005 operates in total today in 14 districts in Sri Lanka. The programme’s beneficiaries across the country currently exceed 16,000 families, of which individually over 64,300 are enrolled. Since its inception, over 8,071 families have successfully graduated from the programme.
An independent study on SADP revealed a significant improvement in a family’s daily nutritional intake after joining the programme with a considerable intake increase in protein, vitamins, calcium and iron. The results also revealed that a graduate family will earn an additional income of over Rs. 14,000 per month as a result of SADP.
The newly enrolled families in Weligama will be introduced to home gardening and animal husbandry during a period of 30 months, as means to improve their livelihoods and nutrition levels. The programme over the months will empower women in families, enrich the environment and encourage maximum land utilization.
Under the SADP model, beneficiaries are registered and taught to develop their own parameter fencing, compost pits, educated about vegetable and fruit cultivation and handed plants and seeds to begin their own home gardens under the first stage. During stage two, families are introduced to poultry farming, adding eggs – a much needed source of protein, to their daily meals. Stage three sees them introduced to goat raring, for milk and other dairy based products. Here, families are also exposed to mushroom cultivation as a commercial crop, to increase their income. Once families successfully complete these stages and reach self-sustenance, they will graduate from the programme.
Specially trained SADP officers will monitor, advice and guide families through the programme’s two and a half year duration.