ComBank supports traditional rice producers in Kokkadichcholai
Farmers in Kokkadichcholai, Batticaloa, have received financial and technical support and equipment to facilitate their traditional trade of rice production, as the latest beneficiaries of Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme.
The Bank embarked on this exerciseto drive financial inclusion among smallholder farmers in this areain partnership with the Women’s Society in Kokkadichcholai.Itsultimate objective is toincrease the productioncapacity in the area and enhancerural livelihoods. Tosupport this mandate, the Bank also donated 30 paddy-boiling aluminum pans to selected farmers in the community. The livelihood of this community revolves around collecting paddy, preparing traditional rice and supplying local markets and individuals in the Batticaloa town.
The Commercial Bank Batticaloa branch along with the Bank’s Bank on Wheels – Eastern arm, theBank’s corresponding Agriculture and Micro Finance Unit (AMFU) and the Development Credit Department (DCD)collaborated on this ‘Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme’ which culminated in a ceremony that was held in Kokkadichcholai, recently.
After donating the cooking utensils to the Women’s Society, Commercial Bank’s officials elaborated on the services offered by the Bank on Wheels operation and the Bank’s products and services available to the community.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President of the Women’sSociety,MrsP. Sakunthaladevi said: “Through the Bank on Wheels operation, Commercial Bank has been providing basic banking services such as account opening, cash deposits and withdrawals, micro loans, agri leases and other banking related services to our farmers on at least four days of the month. We are grateful toreceive these services which have been instrumental in expanding our trade, enhancing productivity, and even improving our lifestyle. Of the 80 members in our Society, nearly 45 have obtained Dirishakthi loans from the Commercial Bank Batticaloa branch. This capital inflow boost has not only increased the income of these families but enhanced the livelihoods and quality of life of our community as a whole.”
The Women’s Society in Kokkadichcholai, soon to be registered as the ‘Padayanadavely Women’s Society,’ was established in 2019 with the support of Commercial Bank’s Bank on Wheelsoperation as a small association comprising 12 farmer members who were engaged in cultivation, traditional rice making, and animal husbandry.
A similar initiative conducted under the Bank’s Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme was the provision of assistance to the dairy value chain of the Mullaitivu Livestock Breeders Cooperative Society. This value chain consisting of farmers, milk collectors, producers, product transporters, and retailers to the end consumer were supported with banking services and access via the Bank on Wheels. Members of this community who had lost their assets including livestock during the conflict also had the opportunity to obtain loans to purchase cattle and develop cattle sheds.
The Bank also donated a set of cooler boxes to support a group of dairy farmers in Mulliyawalai. The coolers help preserve the freshness of the products and are essential in the safe transportation of dairy products. Following these measures, community members reported an increase in milk production and their income. They are now able to distribute milk to distant shops, while curd, ghee, milk toffee, and yoghurt produced from the milk is supplied to wholesale outlets in Kilinochchi and Vavuniya.