The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has extended financial and technical support to 532 tea growers, attached to four tea societies in Bandarawela and Deniyaya under the latest Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Programme. Designed to improve the efficiency and sustainability of rural value chains, this recent initiative was focused on introducing novel technological developments that are conducive to increasing the efficiency and productivity of the tea industry in these regions and driving financial inclusion among smallholder farmers to encourage their entrepreneurial spirit, the Bank said.
Furthermore, the Bank’s Bandarawela and Deniyaya branches along with their corresponding Agriculture and Micro Finance Units (AMFU) and the Bank’s Development Credit Department (DCD) donated four earth drilling machines to selected tea grower’s societies in these regions. Among the recipients of this equipment is the PARCIC Organic Tea society in Deniyaya. Members of PARCIC grow tea plants with organic fertilisers manufactured by the Society. Subsequently, the green leaf harvest is supplied to the Ahinsa Tea Factory in Morawaka owned by Professor Piyasena Abeygunawardena, a pioneer in the local organic tea industry.
Under this programme the Bank identifies all participants in a value chain with the assistance of existing customers or Community Based Organisations (CBOs), provides financial services by reaching vulnerable players in the community such as women entrepreneurs and low-income individuals via coordinators of its Agriculture and Micro Finance Units who approach these members to provide personalised support. They identify obstacles that hinder the efficiency of the value chain and solve cash flow and capacity issues, provide fund transfer facilities to remit sales proceeds and to pay suppliers through the formal banking sector, and improve technical knowledge and entrepreneurship skills of value chain members with the objective of improving the quality of the products and services they offer.