3,000 farmers and out growers in the Nestlé Coconut Plan received 150,000 kg of fertiliser and training on modern farming practices from the Coconut Cultivation Board and Nestlé, at a recent event which marked the completion of The Plan’s fourth year. To help address unstable coconut supply over the last few years, caused largely by drought and crop disease, the Nestlé Coconut Plan is helping people grow more resilient coconut varieties, and providing them better access to new technologies, best practices, quality planting materials, and professional agronomical support.
“Coconut is central to Sri Lankan life and is one of our most important crops. It gives me great pleasure to note the strong positive impact of the Nestlé Coconut Plan at the end of its fourth year, and the good growth of the distributed plantlets so far, which are showing a 95% success rate. The success of this programme is a testament to the strength of the public-private partnership between the CCB and Nestlé” said Mr. Jayantha Wickramasinghe – Chairman of the Coconut Cultivation Board (CCB).
Training programme for Nestlé Coconut Plan farmers
Started in 2016, the Nestlé Coconut Plan has provided 3,000 farming families 19,000 coconut plantlets of a special hybrid variety that is more resilient to adverse weather and crop disease. The first batch will mature in 2021. To increase supply, The Plan supports people to grow coconut in their home gardens and in areas outside of the traditional coconut triangle and has four model farms to help train and develop programme participants. It also encourages farmers to plant short-term vegetable cash crops (inter-cropping) to receive an alternative income until the coconut plantlets mature. As many coconut growers struggle without a steady supply of water for their crops, two of the model farms have been outfitted with a tube well and micro-irrigation system.
Free health checks and nutritional counselling to Nestlé Coconut Plan farmers
“Supporting the local coconut industry has been close to our hearts for almost 35 years. Today we contribute to more than 6,000 farmers’ livelihoods by buying the highest-quality Sri Lankan coconut for our Maggi Coconut Milk Powder. The Nestlé Coconut Plan, which supports another 3,000 farming families, is our latest endeavor to help support the industry. We are helping more people grow coconut and increasing supply, by offering special hybrid varieties that mature quicker and are more resilient. It is part of our purpose as a Good food, Good life company, where we want consumers to know that Nestlé products are not only good for them but also good for their community” said Fabrice Cavallin, Nestlé’s Managing Director.
*Photo caption (From left to right): Mr. M. J. S. Rawisinghe, General Manager – Coconut Cultivation Board; Mr. Jayantha Wickramasinghe, Chairman – Coconut Cultivation Board; Mr. Bandula Egodage, Nestlé Vice President – Corporate and Regulatory Affairs; and Mrs. Radhini De Costa, Nestlé Assistant Vice President – Communications; handing fertiliser to a Nestlé Coconut Plan farmer