Sampath Bank has officially unveiled ‘Value Added Agriculture’ Programme in collaboration with CIC Holdings PLC with the aim of strengthening agri-entrepreneurs in different parts of the country by promoting value added agriculture among rural communities. This programme will take place in the areas where the Bank’s flagship, award-winning “Wewata Jeewayak” tank restoration programme has been implemented so far.
The ‘Value Added Agriculture’ Programme was officially launched with the first event being conducted on 23rd January 2023 with the participation of members of Divulankadawala Farmers Associations in Medirigiriya where the Bank successfully completed the tank restoration programme in 2018. During the event, a panel of experts from CIC Holdings conducted the knowledge sharing sessions on Value Added Agriculture for the members of the Farmers Association. A financial literacy programme was conducted by Sampath Bank at the event in order to develop the agri-entrepreneurs’ financial management skills.
‘Value Added Agriculture’ generally refers to processes that boost the value of primary agricultural commodities. This increases the economic value of the commodity as the customer base of a product and revenue sources for the producer are expanded. With the know-how on new agri-based technologies and ‘value added agriculture’ the rural agricultural community will benefit significantly and will be well-positioned to produce farm products with a higher intrinsic value. The proposed programme aligns with the culture, competencies and value systems of both Sampath Bank and CIC Holdings. Both organisations are well-known to possess a deep-rooted understanding of the pulse of the rural communities. The promotion of climate smart agriculture, modern water management techniques and grooming agri-entrepreneurs are ancillary objectives of the programme.
Sampath Bank’s Chief Human Resource Officer Dr. Lalith Weragoda stated, “To enhance our food security and be better equipped to face the current economic crisis, Sri Lanka needs to take bold steps to increase agricultural output. We need both high yields and high-quality yields, both of which will be possible through this Value added Agriculture programme. Amidst this process, Sampath Bank plays a significant role by developing a strategic link/synergy to diverse industries.
The programme, which combines the inherent strengths of Sampath Bank and CIC Holdings, will go a long way in empowering these agri-entrepreneurs and get them to deploy these agri-based technologies to increase their harvest and their income, leading to a better quality of life for those communities.”
Sampath Bank initiated the “Wewata Jeewayak” tank restoration programme in the year 2001 to restore traditional irrigation network of neglected tanks located in the Dry Zone in Sri Lanka. Thousands of farming families have been benefited directly and indirectly through this initiative in many ways in the past two decades. The main objective is to ensure a dependable year-round supply of water to cultivate the paddy land and harvest both cropping seasons, safeguarding the sustainable livelihoods of small-scale agrarian entrepreneurs as a result. Inculcating the value system of working together for common benefit of the community, empowering communities, youth leadership, and women empowerment are other objectives of this programme.
Over the years, Sampath Bank has won numerous accolades and gained recognition for its wide-ranging contribution to environmental, social and economic sustainability. In addition to ‘Wewata Jeewayak’, the Bank has also several other CSR initiatives including, ‘Sayurata Husmak’, ‘Gasai Mamai, Pubudu Pothai’, among others.
Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the lives of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector including introducing ATMs to Sri Lanka, extended banking hours, slip-less banking and adaptation of block-chain technology to name a few. As part of its visionary 2022 approach, the bank is steadily transforming itself into a ‘tech company engaged in banking,’ from the traditional approach of a bank adopting technology.