John Keells Foundation and Tea Smallholder Factories PLC (TSF) - both subsidiaries of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Sri Lanka’s largest conglomerate, together with the Carbon Consulting Company (Pvt) Ltd (CCC) initiated a community based tree planting project in June 2014.
Reforestation with a view to increasing the coverage of vegetation of selected environs, creating a bio-link between existing forest areas. The project includes community awareness creation, supervision and maintenance of trees planted, and community development in the related areas.
Phase 1 includes 31 plots of tea smallholder farmland in the vicinity of Hingalgoda, Neluwa, Kurupanawa and Halvitigala in the Galle district.
Since its launch in 2014, the project has involved the planting and maintenance of 300 saplings covering approximately 30 acres of land and benefiting over 30 small holders in the target area.
More than 3000 forest trees have been supplied for over 15 acres of land belonging to Small Holders.
Members of the community involved with the project will be directly benefited through community engagement whilst improving income generation through the monthly allowance paid to them for the maintenance of the plants in the short term as well as the commercial value of cash crops in the longer term.
Tea smallholders living in the Hingalgoda, Neluwa, Kurupanawa and Halvitigala areas were initially appraised on current global warming issues and the benefits of the tree planting project by the staff of CCC and TSF. Prior to planting the saplings, CCC conducted a further awareness session in March 2014 in Halvitigala. The consultants and smallholders had a detailed discussion on “good farming practices” and aspects pertaining chosen plant varieties.
Following the planting, both CCC and TSF continue to undertake periodic monitoring and evaluation.