Tea smallholders and tea planters in the Kalawana area were the latest beneficiaries of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s Dirishakthi Sustainable Entrepreneurship Development Programme, when the Bank conducted a training and knowledge sharing seminar for them in partnership with the Tea Research Institute (TRI) and the Tea Small Holders Development Authority (TSHDA). More than 100 people attended the event at the Rambuka temple in Kalawana, which began with a tree planting activity.
Presentations covered subjects such as soil rehabilitation and replanting, machinery usage in tea cultivation, and the Bank’s support under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded Tea Smallholders Loan Scheme. Participants also attended a technical and skills development session conducted by officers of the TRI and the TSHDA. A Mobile Crop Clinic conducted by the TRI offered tea cultivators services such as soil PH & EC testing, soil carbon & nutrient testing, pest identification, root starch testing and soil & leaf sample collection for nematode testing. A spokesperson for Commercial Bank said the Bank intended to continue such programmes for the benefit of members of tea growing communities in the hill country, including the Uva Sabaragamuwa region.
The main organisers of the programme and the officials that participated in it were the Bank’s Regional Manager – Uva Sabaragamuwa Mr. Chaminda Kalugamage the Manager of the Kalawana Branch Mr. Vajira Ratnayaka.
Technical knowledge was provided by the TSHDA’s Assistant Regional Manager for Ratnapura Mr Nandana Wijesinghe, the Zonal Tea Development Officer Mr Sisira Perera, the Senior Advisory Officer of the TRI Mr Janaka Mahindapala and the Senior Research Officer of the TRI Dr Sampath Pathiranage. The programme was assisted by the Coordinator of the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Unit for Ratnapura Mr Buddhika Madurapperuma.
Pictured here are some of the highlights of the programme.