Leveraging local resources to promote sustainable agriculture, Sampath Bank PLC has stepped forward to empower an organic market called ‘Wayamba Isuru Farmers Market’ in the North Western Province. Produced under close supervision of the Provincial Department of Agriculture - North Western Province (NWP), Wayamba Isuru Farmers Market will offer 100% natural fresh organic vegetables, fruits and food items at affordable prices.
Driven under its flagship development programme for entrepreneurs - ‘Sampath Saviya,’ Sampath Bank aims to strengthen the livelihoods of organic farmers in the North Western province. 'Sampath Saviya' proactively supports the government’s endeavour to develop the MSME sector as a key growth catalyst for the national economy. The initiative also focuses on empowering agri-entrepreneurs, which oversees the implementation of projects such as Waymba Isuru Farmers Market.
In a bid to steer this project, Sampath Bank recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Provincial Department of Agriculture. This signifies the beginning of a series of agricultural initiatives that aim to promote organic farming throughout the island.
Expressing his views, Mr. Lalith Weragoda, Assistant General Manager – Human Resources of Sampath Bank PLC stated, “We are very happy to implement this special project that will empower organic farmers and agri-entrepreneurs which we consider as fulfilment of a timely need of the country. Under ‘Sampath Saviya,’ we have driven a number of training programs and workshops for the farmers and agriculture instructors, to elevate their technical knowledge. Today’s market place is rapidly evolving. Those involved in the agro industry need to stay up-to-date with all technological and marketing aspects in order to compete with other markets and efficiently meet the needs of the customers. We believe the Wayamba Isuru Market will give them the right exposure to build individual and collective competencies to forge ahead with confidence. Further, we will provide individual development plans for farmers to develop them as competent entrepreneurs.”
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Semasinghe – Provincial Director of the Department of Agriculture – North Western Province noted, “The Wayamba Isuru Farmers Market will no doubt become a crucial part in the development process of the North Western Province. It’s a great opportunity for us to partner with a leading bank in the private sector and implement a sustainable development project to uplift the local agriculture industry. I believe that this initiative will not only create new job opportunities but also inspire the youth to pursue agricultural-entrepreneurship. The Wayamba Isuru Farmers Market will also create many opportunities for our traditional farmers to evolve with modern technology and knowledge to cultivate healthy organic crops which in turn will elevate their living standards.”
The market is open to public every Wednesday and Saturday from 6.30 AM onwards at the Provincial Department of Agriculture on Dambulla Road, Kurunegala.
In conjunction with the agro-initiative, Sampath Bank drives ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ – a tank restoration programme which will ensure a year round supply of water to sustain organic cultivation and thereby support agri-entrepreneurs in the area.
Due to the increase of non-communicable diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes and cancer within the past decade, consumers are seeking healthy food options with more emphasis on organic food. While containing high nutritional value, organic food is free from chemicals and contains antioxidants that prevents cell damage. They are also safe for persons suffering from food allergies. Furthermore, organic agricultural procedures maintain a well-balanced agro-ecosystem, and prevents a number of agricultural issues such as aridity and pest problems that crop up due to conventional cultivation methods.
In order to promote organic food consumption and take sustainable agriculture to new heights, Sampath Bank aims to continue similar endeavours in other provinces across the country to create and support a generation of green entrepreneurs who will make a sustainable contribution towards national development.