DPL distributes fertiliser to 1,500 smallholder rubber farmers under Firstlight initiative

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Continuing to empowerand uplift the livelihood of farmer co-operative societies in its loyalty network, Dipped Products PLC (DPL) invested Rs. 2.1 million towards the distribution of fertiliser for 1,500 smallholder rubber producers in the Monaragala District under its flagship sustainability initiative: DPL Firstlight.

A total of 90,000 Kg of fertiliser was distributed among 4 DPL Loyalty Farmer societies across the MonaragalaDistrict at the event organised for the ninth consecutive year.

“For over 12 years, DPL Firstlight has worked to empower smallholder rubber farmers in the Monaragala District. From the outset, we have sought to support their essential contributions and value additions to national rubber production while ensuring that they are guaranteed a fair price for field latex. Additionally, we have optimised their ability to derive maximum yields through the supply of essential agricultural inputs and equipment, and have complemented these efforts with education and awareness building.

“In this manner, we have been successfully able to enhance livelihoods at the grassroots of the Sri Lankan economy. Simultaneously, these initiatives have generated value at a national scale through the development of one of the country’s most essential export crops. Particularly at a time when our nation faces significant economic challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that such social enterprise business models hold the key to sustainable prosperity for all Sri Lankans. Moving forward, we will also expand the DPL Firstlight initiative to farmers in the Kegalle District as well,” DPL Deputy Managing Director, Pushpika Janadheera said.

Presently, smallholder farmers produce approximately 65% of Sri Lanka’s annual rubber crop, with the sector as a whole accounting for 0.2% of the nation’s total GDP; making the sustainable livelihood of rubber smallholder farmers a mission of national significance.

Today, the rubber products manufacturing sector of the country needs around 135,000 metric tons of natural rubber per annum. However, the country is not able to produce this quantity of natural rubber, compelling the nation to import around 60,000 metric tons of natural rubber annually.

Therefore, from an economic perspective, value addition – through manufacturing operations like DPL – for domestic and export markets holds the potential to enhance foreign exchange earnings while creating greater opportunities for grassroots level employment and livelihood development.

Similarly, the sustainability of rubber lands play a pivotal role in maintaining the balance of sensitive ecosystems, given that rubber trees serve as a natural extension of Sri Lanka’s forest cover.

Hence, in addition to its direct support to smallholders, DPL Firstlight also places a strong emphasis on education and empowerment – for rubber farmers and the communities they reside in. This is accomplished through additional programmes focused on a wide range of issues impacting smallholders including the establishment and enhancement of rural health, and educational and recreational facilities.

Established in 1976, Dipped Products is a global leader in protective hand-wear, serving close to 5% of global demand for natural and synthetic latex based medical, household and industrial gloves. Backed by a strong reputation for innovation, quality, and responsible manufacturing practises, the company’s products now reach over 70 countries. With manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and Thailand, DPL is also one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ethical gloves, offering a holistic value proposition to all its partners across the value chain.

Established in 1878 by Chas. P. Hayley as a trading house in Galle specialising in import and export, the Hayleys Group has since grown to serve as a centrepiece of the Sri Lankan economy while maintaining a global presence of manufacturing and marketing offices across five regions with business interests spanning a total of 16 sectors. Today it stands out as one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent success stories, having been the first listed Sri Lankan corporate to surpass US$ 1billion in revenue and accounting for 3.4% of the nation’s total export earnings.

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