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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index


The Formation of an Organic Produce Co-operative of Small Farmers

Silva, Ranjith de

Gami Seva Sevana, Galaha, Sri Lanka

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In Sri Lanka Small Farmers have been able to purchase or receive tea lands which were fragmented at the time of Land Reform during the years 1973-1974. These lands were fragmented since they were uneconomical after about 100 years of continuous tea cultivation. The idea behind this fragmentation was to diversify the crops on these lands but it failed to bring sufficient benefits because of the poor infrastructure arrangements.

The Gami Seva Sevana, a NGO involved in rural and social development, has been able to form a group savings scheme among small farmers. The group formation was in the form of 7-10 members. They were made to save Rs. 10/ = per week (USS.1 = Rs.53/ =). We collected the savings on a particular day of a week which was also a group meeting day. Savings collected were banked the following day through our Institution. Today there are 25 groups, their total savings amounting to Rs.181,332/50 and accruing interest on the above to Rs.24517/52.

These groups have been in operation for 29 months. It is intended to ensure that the sufficient capital remains at the end of 5 years for the group to form their own rural Bank. This clearly indicates that the savings are possible even by poor farmers, if they are properly guided and motivated.

The Cooperative Commissioner has expressed his willingness to incorporate this Organisation of farmers as a new method of Cooperative formation in Sri Lanka. Farmers belonging to the groups are currently able to supply green leaf for the production of organic tea. Our Organisation is helping the farmers to conserve soil erosion, improve soil fertility and prepare nurseries to produce vegetatively propagated seedlings to fill the vacancies by replanting.

Green Leaves are processed in a nearby factory. Five different grades are packed for export and local sales. The export price is higher than the local price thus beneficial to the small farmers.