From Rural Roots to Technological Triumph: Empowering Young Greenhouse Farmers in Sri Lanka
Hiruni’s hard work and dedication paid off as her crops started to achieve vegetative growth. She will be able to sell her vegetables at a premium price to local markets and also to the Green Veg Exports company, which exported the vegetables to international markets.
Today, Hiruni is a successful farmer and entrepreneur. Thanks to the support of SAPP and the Green Veg Exports Greenhouse Cultivation Youth Project, Hiruni was able to turn her passion for agriculture into a successful business. Her story is a testament to the power of education, training, and entrepreneurship in transforming the lives of rural smallholders.
Investing in the youth is crucial for the future of agriculture. Sri Lanka, being an agrarian nation with a rich history of agriculture dating back over 2500 years, has seen the sector contribute significantly to the country’s GDP and poverty reduction efforts. However, one of the major challenges faced by the agricultural and agribusiness sector in Sri Lanka has been the low participation of youth, compounded by COVID-19 restrictions since March 2020.
Fortunately, the SAPP youth grant program has stepped in to fill this gap and create partnerships with public and private financial institutions, as well as with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Sri Lankan government. This has provided greater access for youth in rural areas to achieve sustainable income.
Previously, many youth faced difficulties accessing financial support due to unstable income sources and lack of knowledge. However, with the SAPP initiative, they were able to learn how to apply for loan facilities with minimal interest rates from recognized banks in Sri Lanka. With the reasonable interest rates, they were able to scale up production, receive technological support, and gain market access. This has been a huge opportunity for youth to sustain their farming and business, as well as increase their profits.
SAPP aims to facilitate youth in rural areas by building commercial partnerships, providing access to finance, improving technical know-how and financial literacy, introducing mechanization to agriculture, and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Recently, SAPP signed an agreement with the National Youth Council to raise awareness about the SAPP youth grant program and YED facilities, which has had a major impact on Sri Lanka’s youth who are passionate about sustainable and profitable agricultural value chains.
With SAPP’s support, there is hope for the next generation of sustainable agricultural value chain leaders. Investing in the youth is the key to ensuring the future of agriculture in Sri Lanka.
With the right support and resources, small holder agropreneurs like her can transform their lives and create a better future for themselves and their families.