Sri Lanka - Smallholder Tea and Rubber Revitalization Project (STARR) – December 2021
In Panagala, this land which was once abandoned, has now become a 25 acre of organic tea field.
Through the STARR project, the land was made accessible to local farmers who have been working the land and are preparing for a first harvest of the tea. While the use of chemical fertilisers is the norm and a growing issue in Sri Lanka, as part of the project, these farmers use organic fertiliser which is cheaper to produce. Although the harvest takes longer, growing organic tea is more rewarding in the long term as the organic label allows them to market it as such, and organic tea fetches a better price, especially in the export market. Sri Lanka is one of the top tea exporters in the world.
With a rapid increase in the demand for organic tea, the local farmers involved in the project are excited and hopeful for their future.
The IFAD-funded Smallholder Tea and Rubber Revitalization Project aims to improve food security, increase incomes, and strengthen the resilience of poor rural people in Sri Lanka, all while ensuring that the smallholders are the key decision-makers of the project. By promoting organization among smallholders to produce and market tea, supporting them in improving rubber production and processing, seeking a better link to markets, and facilitating smallholders’ access to rural financing, this project will benefit approximately 32,000 smallholder households.
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