Transforming Sri Lanka’s agricultural landscape | Daily News

Transforming Sri Lanka’s agricultural landscape

Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector is experiencing a transformative boost thanks to the efforts of Ranjan T Hanchapola, a visionary agro business entrepreneur. Hanchapola, the founder of CAP Green Forest (Pvt) Ltd and CAP Organic (Pvt) Ltd, is leading the charge in establishing and developing sustainable fruit production in the country. His mission is to uplift rural farmers and promote sustainable and pesticide-free crop production.

Hanchapola’s journey began in the eastern province of Sri Lanka, where he was born into an agricultural family. Armed with a BSc. degree from the University of Birmingham, an MBA from the University of Kelaniya, and a Quantity Surveyor diploma, he pursued his lifelong dream of becoming an agro entrepreneur. With the goal of empowering Sri Lanka’s rural farming communities, he founded CAP Green Forest (Pvt) Ltd and CAP Organic (Pvt) Ltd, companies that focus on agro-based fruit and vegetable cultivation and export.

One of Hanchapola’s notable achievements is the introduction of a patent-pending sugar-free, pre-preserved fruit product that has the potential to captivate consumers both locally and internationally. By combining the popularity of American and European green tea drinks with tea bags and other herbs, he aims to create a new product that will make its mark on the international market.

Furthermore, Hanchapola has successfully developed innovative products such as Katu Anoda soda water, Katu Anodavela crackers (chips), and a special Katu Anoda capsule, all derived from the abundant prickly pear fruits found in Sri Lanka. These ventures highlight the unexpected demand for foreign trade and the country’s capability to produce high-quality goods to meet these demands.

Recognizing the importance of empowering women in agriculture, Hanchapola proposes a program to provide financial facilities and guidance for women to cultivate fruits on their lands rather than solely relying on garden plantations. Collaborating with the Smallholder Agribusiness Partnership Program (SAPP) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Hanchapola has initiated expansion projects in Ampara, Badulla, and Monaragala districts. By 2022-2023, the aim is to meet the global demand for fruit products through these initiatives.

To realize his vision, Hanchapola has formed strategic partnerships with DIFaSa Green Farming Ltd, Ingredient BV Amsterdam (a fruit importer), and Graviola Tea Company in the USA. External advisors from the University of Wageningen Holland and the Water Board of the Netherlands lend their expertise to improve the livelihoods of outgrower farmers. The management teams of CAP Green Forest (Pvt) Ltd and CAP Organic (Pvt) Ltd provide valuable support in marketing and finance, while local experts ensure organic and sustainable farming practices are maintained through the GAP SL certification.

The CAP Farmer Foundation, a non-profit organization, plays a pivotal role in receiving and distributing funds and grants for programs throughout Sri Lanka. Hanchapola’s partnership with a Netherlands-based company exporting fruits, herbs, and vegetables cultivated on his farms further strengthens his business operations.

Hanchapola’s comprehensive approach includes training, supporting, and guiding outgrower farmers to modernize their farming techniques and transition to crops suitable for export. Financial support for seeds, tools, fertilizer, and training is provided during the first two years, and investments are made in infrastructure such as warehouses, cool-houses, packing lines, and fruit drying facilities to maximize utilization and export potential.

Hanchapola emphasises the need for water management systems, including solar pumps, to ensure sustainable farming practices. He recognizes that while exporting presents opportunities, it also entails challenges. For instance, out of every 1000 kg of fresh fruits, only 40-50% (Grade A) can be exported, while the remaining produce is sold locally or utilized for juices or dried products by tea exporting companies in Sri Lanka. Hanchapola highlights that a significant portion of Sri Lanka’s tea companies import 95% of their by-products, presenting an opportunity for local producers to meet this demand.

Hanchapola’s endeavours have garnered attention and support from various stakeholders. The collaboration with DIFaSa Green Farming Ltd and the support from Ingredient BV Amsterdam, a prominent fruit importer, and Graviola Tea Company in the USA demonstrate the growing interest and belief in Sri Lanka’s potential as a key player in the global fruit market. Moreover, external advisors from the esteemed University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and the Water Board of the Netherlands contribute their knowledge to improve the living standards of outgrower farmers.

Add new comment