Sri Lanka’s Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) added their support to
national efforts aimed at enhancing food security, with the launch of a new campaign to
boost cultivation on RPC lands, while providing crucial assistance to their employees in
mitigating the impact of increasing food prices.
In total, the 21 private sector-owned RPCs in the country have collectively either engaged in
direct cultivation or provided assistance for the cultivation of short-term crops used for
everyday consumption. These crops are produced for the consumption of over a million RPC
employees and residents living in RPC estates and also in surrounding villages.
With the support of state authorities, RPCs have allocated lands and provided inputs like
seed material and plant nutrients at their own expense. Up to now, with the assistance of the
Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), the Department of Agriculture and Agrarian
Services and the project’s beneficiaries, the RPCs have established around 578 model
home garden plots and 7,000 home gardens.
Through the partnership, a total of 1,000 model gardens will be set up around Child
Development Centers, in addition to a further 20,000 home gardens that will be developed
within RPC estates.
Crucially, the initiative is not done for profit instead being solely focused on enhancing food
security for estate sector communities. Some RPCs will also be assisting employees to sell
surplus crops at concessionary prices generating further opportunities for income
“Sri Lanka is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis coupled with an impending
food shortage where there are families who cannot even afford 3 meals a day. As RPCs
we’ve felt it incumbent on all individuals, organisations and communities that are able to take
whatever steps possible to engage in food cultivation to mitigate this crisis.”
“By helping to sustain a large resident population, the RPCs aim to do their utmost to
support this belated national effort to avert the coming food shortages. Parallel to our efforts
to expand cultivation, RPCs have also launched a series of initiatives to further insulate our
employees from the impact of sharp increases in food prices by distributing food and
essential rations, , and establishing community kitchens to provide nutritious meals,”
Planters’ Association of Ceylon Media Spokesperson, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.
Responding proactively and aggressively to the potential threat posed by the food crisis, the
RPCs have directly cultivated some extents while some cultivations have been planted
together with the beneficiaries. The crops which have been cultivated under the initiative
include manioc, yams, maize, potatoes, banana, chillies and vegetables such as brinjal,
capsicum, leeks, beet and carrots.
The timely initiative will assist in mitigating the impact of the global food crisis and the sharp
increase in local food prices on the plantation community. Food prices in Sri Lanka rose by
an unprecedented 76% in June 2022 on a year-on-year basis, as measured by the National
Consumer Price Index (NCPI) of the Central Bank.
Complementing these efforts, with the assistance of other stakeholders including the RPCs,
the PHDT has provided access to food items at a lower cost to the plantation community,
through the ‘super co-ops’ operating in RPC estates. Employees can also purchase items at
these outlets on credit and repay once they receive their wages.