DPL distributes fertiliser under Firstlight initiative | Daily News

DPL distributes fertiliser under Firstlight initiative

DPL Top management and officials from Rubber Research Institute with rubber farmers who received fertilizer under the DPL Firstlight initiative
DPL Top management and officials from Rubber Research Institute with rubber farmers who received fertilizer under the DPL Firstlight initiative

Continuing to empower and 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 four DPL Loyalty Farmer societies across the Monaragala District 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 plays 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.