Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. (CBL), manufacturers of popular Munchee biscuits, corporate magnanimity was once again rewarded with international recognition in UNDP’s prestigious ArtGold Programme.It heeded CBL’s request to continue its assistance for Phase II of UNDP sponsored farmer assistance project launched three years ago in 2008/2009.
The programme’s phase I which was set afloat in April 2009 envisaged the increase of honey production in the selected project area by 102%. The project involved the free provision of a variety of equipment and training required for clean honey production.
Comprehensive training and follow up programme, backed by an attractive guaranteed price scheme for the honey and overall support of the company’s sophisticated marketing network has resulted in the project’s success. As a result of the many gestures of generosity of equipment as well as training skills from sponsors, the project achieved an overall102% increase in the honey harvest at the end of year one. The number of actively involved bee keeping farmers also increased from 150 to 325 showing a 116% increase in participation.
Sri Lanka imports about 60-70 tons of honey annually. With the availability of ideal climatic conditions, a wide array of nectar bearing flora, available technical expertise and an ever increasing demand, potential exists in this industry as a profitable business venture. Bee keeping does not require full time labour involvement and 25-30 colonies could be managed by a single person while being employed in any other venture on full time basis.
The project’s phase II which was launched in late June 2011 will mainly cover villages under the Bandarawela, Dambawinna, Keppetipola, Boralanda and Bogaha kumbura agrarian service centres involving over 10 villages. At phase II’s launch, 500 bee boxes, 200 smokers, 200 face guards and 30 centrifugal honey extractors were distributed among the beekeepers. When compared to the phase I, this is a 100% increase of the equipments supplied. The project also includes a series of comprehensive training programmes for new entrants and the experienced.
CBL plans to provide these villages a special identity by naming them as “Honey Villages” by the year end, by further improving equipment availability, technical skills and infrastructure.
Project Manager Aruna Lokupothagamage mentioned that CBL is willing to extend this project to other areas in the country and invited community leaders to avail this opportunity.
The launch was a demonstration of a highly successful joint venture involving public and private sector organizations and the UNDP.
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