Growing Papayas for Export
Thank you to all our donors, we have met our fundraising goal.
In 2011 a number of war-affected families were resettled in Palamoddai GN division. Prior to this, they had spent more than 3 years living in welfare villages and transit sites and IDP’s. As a result of the conflict, basic social and economic needs are unmet in this area. While there is temporary housing, there has been little focus on developing livelihoods and there are few jobs for the families in this village. The families have at least an acre of land and most are currently farming.
In this project, each farmer will be provided with 160 papaya seedlings for cultivation. 50% of the cost of the seedlings will be paid back after the first successful harvest. An agreement will determine what a successful harvest is, and other conditions of payback and will be signed by the farmer.
We have arranged for a buying company to collect the harvested papaya from the individual farmer gate, with the transport cost to be borne by the buying company. The buying company will pay the rate per kg of papaya based on the existing pricing structure, which includes the cost of transportation.
The buying company will select export quality papaya and will also manage the collection of domestic quality fruits to market to other buyers in national markets.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
Most of the families in the Vavuniya District are farmers, however, many do not have the tools or market knowledge to successfully grow export crops. Some of the families have been growing crops for the local market (earning a lower income) while others have been out of the workforce for some time, so they lack the confidence and awareness of how to restart farming. The region has also seen drought conditions for many years. The project will enable the participating farmers to use drip irrigation to save water so that they can farm more efficiently and sustainably. By growing export quality papaya they can gain a higher income on which to support their families and build a promising future.
This project is about giving 30 farmers 160 papaya plants to grow on part of their land, and training them in sustainably growing papayas for export. The training will cover how to cultivate export quality papaya, and sustainable farming including using drip irrigation to conserve water. Setting up drip irrigation is an important aspect of this project as there has been a lot of drought in this part of Sri Lanka.
The farmers will also pay back 50% of the cost of the seedlings after the first successful harvest. This is a way for the farmers to stay committed to the project goals, and to experience the reality of running this type of export business.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
We will select the beneficiaries, focussing on women-headed householders and people with disability. We will provide training on farming techniques, especially those that are sustainable such as drip irrigation. The farmers will also visit and learn from existing papaya exporters. Each farmer will receive seedlings and other tools required for growing the papayas. A buying company has agreed to inspect, collect and pay for papayas for the international markets at each farmer’s gate. Papaya that don’t meet the requirements for export can be sold in the local market. The farmers will then pay 50% of the cost of the seedlings back to us, and keep the remainder as income.
- Training 30 farmers to grow papaya plants for sale both domestically and internationally
- Connecting farmers to international markets so the farmers can get a higher price for the papayas
- Training farmers in setting up a drip irrigation system to conserve water
- Drip irrigation will be useful in farming any crop (not only papaya) given the drought conditions in this part of Sri Lanka
- The farmers will pay back 50% of the cost of the seedlings so they are both committed to seeing the papayas earn the highest price, and also exposed to the realities of the export business.
HOW WE ENSURE SUSTAINABILITY
Part of the goal of this project is to see whether farming papayas for export is a good way for farmers in this village to increase their regular income. If it is, then we can expand the project and bring more farmers into the papaya growing business (based on demand).
The farmers have to repay 50% of the cost of the seedlings. This ensures the farmers are committed to the project and invested in its success, and exposes them to the reality of the export business. Once one successful harvest has been sold, the farmers can use the income from that sale to buy more seedlings, and so on.
Regardless of the outcome of the papaya export business, the training on drip irrigation and farming papaya will be useful for the farmers to successfully grow any crops using limited water.