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Bumper turmeric harvest at Kuruegala Plantations

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By Randima Attygalle

Reputed for its core coconut plantation business yielding around 15 million nuts per year, Kurunegala Plantations Limited (KPL), a fully owned government company, is also well known for its intercrops.

Currently operating under the Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion and Related Industrial Product Manufacturing & Export Diversification Ministry, KPL recently gathered a bumper harvest of turmeric, earning a profit of LKR 11 million.

Turmeric is KPL’s latest commercial inter-crop joining pepper, cinnamon, cocoa, mango, dragon fruit, guava, mangosteen, cashew and rambutan. The success of turmeric is encouraging, especially in the aftermath of government’s import ban, says KPL CEO S.M.M. Samarakoon.

“Although turmeric was grown in a very small scale by KPL, this is the first time we did it in a bigger way with the assistance from the Department of Export Agriculture (DEA) which guided us from planting, providing technical know-how up to harvesting.”

“The maiden harvest of our first large scale cultivation is very encouraging. It is also aligned with government’s Saubhagye Idiri Dekma,” Samarakoon notes.

Five acres of KPL estate land in Kalawewa, Dodangaslanda, Kurunegala, Narammala, Dambadeniya, Attanagalla and Katugampola were planted with 3,600 kg of seed material.

“The harvest was 36,000 kgs and the highest profit per land unit was derived from our Kalawewa estate,” says Samarakoon. Encouraged by the performance, KPL has extended turmeric cultivation to 20 acres now.

Turmeric is an ideal inter-crop with coconut and mangoes Samarakoon points out. “Out of our 12,250 acres of land, we maintain 9,000 acres of coconut and there is ample space between coconut palms for turmeric.”

The turmeric seeds for their first large scale cultivation were sourced from Hasalaka says Samarakoon adding that under their joint venture with DEA (Department of Export Agriculture), they distribute seed material to other growers and nurseries.

An ideal smallholder crop, turmeric which thrives in the dry zone will help alleviate poverty, says the senior planter.

“The return on investment is very high and with proper irrigation facilities in place, farmers can plant it around the year without being confined to Yala and Maha seasons,” says Samarakoon.

Superior quality turmeric rich in flavour and pungency is now sold under the KPL brand and can be ordered through its webpage or facebook page.

Turmeric, as Director (Research), Intercropping & Betel Research Station, Department of Export Agriculture (DEA), Dr. H.M.P.A Subasinghe explains, grows best in Matale, Kurunegala, Kandy, Ampara, Gampaha and Anuradhapura and presently covers an area of over 1,420 ha. Although we used to import a sizeable amount from India, today imports are completely banned, he said.

To bridge the shortfall, DEA has taken several measures to expand local cultivation. These include providing subsidies for seed rhizomes, registering farmers producing seed material, technology transfer through training programmes and mass media, new planting programmes for expanding the cultivation and subsidies for sprinkler irrigation systems and post-harvest machinery.

DEA also assists growers with production of planting material through small rhizome cuttings and tissue culture. Machinery for processing including peeling, drying and powdering and making organic fertilizer recommendations are among services provided.

“Last year we exported 69.2 Mt of turmeric to Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the Maldives earning Rs. 86.3 mn.,” says Subasinghe. He says turmeric is an ideal inter-crop with coconut as comparatively a higher returns can be had by maximizing land use,”

Urging other potential growers to take a cue from KPL’s success story, Subasinghe cites good practices promoted by the DEA for results already obtained. Selection of healthy seeds, planting at the right time, land preparation with recommended practices, supplementary irrigation with sprinklers, moisture conservation practices and inter-cropping with coconut under shade (around 30%) are notable among them.

Sri Lankan turmeric is superior to Indian turmeric in many ways, notes the agriculturist. “Curcumin is the most important chemical component in turmeric and our turmeric has a higher curcumin content. While Indian turmeric contains 2 to 3.5% of Curcumin, local turmeric contains 3 to 7%. Sri Lankan turmeric also contains a higher level of flavonoid and oil.”

Besides being a flavouring agent, turmeric also has considerable medicinal properties. Notable for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, turmeric increases brain functions and lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, ayurvedic physicians say. It also has anti-ageing properties and maintains skin elasticity. Turmeric can also help reduce depression and keeps arthritis at bay.

 

 



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DFCC Bank’s Ranwarama pawning facility lends a helping hand to those with urgent cash requirements

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DFCC Bank has increased the advances of its “DFCC Ranwarama” Pawning Facility as a solution for families to meet their urgent cash requirements as many families are experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has had a significant impact on the Sri Lankan economy.

Through this scheme, all Sri Lankan citizens over 18 years of age with the contractual capacity to declare themselves as owners of the articles can now pawn gold or gold jewellery. DFCC Bank accepts jewellery made of 18 Karat -24 Karat gold, with the articles being assayed using the latest available equipment. Items of 24 Karate will hold an advanced value of LKR 82,000/-, while 22 Karat pieces will hold an advanced value of LKR 68,000/- at an interest rate of 0.75% per month. Those who engage in these transactions are provided a maximum of 12 months to settle the pawning advances at their convenience.

DFCC Bank’s Ranwarama Pawning Facility offers many other special features including the highest advance amount at competitive rates of interest, confidentiality and guaranteed security for the articles, flexible payment plans with redemption options when required and redemption without prior notification. All of these facilities are available with no hidden charges, offering customers the best service available in the market.

You may visit a DFCC Bank branch closest to you to transact or visit the Bank’s website at www.dfcc.lk for further information. Customers can also contact DFCC Bank’s 24-hour contact center on +94(11)2350000 for further inquiries.

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HSBC Sri Lanka recognised as the Best Consumer Digital Bank by Global Finance

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HSBC has been recognised as the Best Consumer Digital Bank in Sri Lanka for 2021 by Global Finance at the World’s Best Consumer Digital Banks Awards in Asia-Pacific. While this is the bank’s fourth award win for this year, this also marks the 13th time that HSBC Sri Lanka has been named the Best Consumer Digital Bank, since 2006.

HSBC Sri Lanka is also the only market in Asia Pacific to win the prestigious award this year.

According to Global Finance, the global health crisis accelerated the need for digital and contact-free solutions by banks in helping create safe and efficient banking services for customers. HSBC Sri Lanka was quick to react in supporting customers in providing seamless digital bank offerings in an increasingly demanding environment, while ensuring customers have a secure banking service with a full spectrum of client-centric banking services.

Through its wealth of digital capabilities and offerings, HSBC allowed customers to adopt a mobile-first approach, and provide them with faster, easier and more secure banking services 24/7. The bank introduced a virtual on boarding capability for account opening, loans and credit cards supported by Adobe Live Sign, eKYC and virtual PINs to provide a seamless on boarding experience for customers. HSBC also offers credit card activation through SMS and an e2e virtual registration process for online banking, offering a virtual banking experience.

In Sri Lanka more than 90% of its personal customers now use digital channels including mobile banking, e-wallets, real-time cash deposit machines and other digital services.

Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking said, “We are truly honoured to be named the Best Consumer Digital Bank in Sri Lanka for 2021 by Global Finance in recognition of our digital capabilities, and delivering important everyday services and features that customers need and expect. As a leading international bank, we are putting the power of our bank in every customer’s pocket, with easier and more secure digital banking. We want to take the hassle out of everyday banking, and enable customers to easily manage their money online, from opening a new account in a few clicks, to making real time payments and accessing credit.”

Senaratne added: “We’re also blending the power of technology with the expertise of our people and empowering our frontline teams with the latest data and insights tools, to be better-equipped to check customer satisfaction in the moment, to understand, and respond to their evolving needs and give customers excellent service.”

Winners were selected by a world-class panel of judges and entries were judged based on the strength of strategy for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings and evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives.

Earlier this year, HSBC Sri Lanka was also named International Bank of the Year by Asiamoney and Finance Asia respectively, and International Retail Bank of the Year by Asian Banking & Finance.

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BoardPAC appointed Strategic Partner of Commonwealth’s Business Network – CWEIC

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BoardPAC, the Sri Lanka-based multinational Board meeting automation solutions company, has been appointed a Strategic Partner of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), the organisation officially mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote trade and investment between the 54 Commonwealth member countries.

This prestigious appointment will see CWEIC relying on BoardPAC’s award-winning solutions to conduct board and committee meetings with members and maintain relationships across the Commonwealth network at a time when the global pandemic’s complete disruption of business activity has resulted in a surge in the demand for efficient board meeting automation.

The Company said the partnership will also effectively promote the BoardPAC platform to new users and facilitate its expansion into new territories and focus markets. BoardPAC already has a global user base in excess of 50,000 and a presence in more than 40 countries.

Noting that BoardPAC’s latest partnership serves as yet another testament to the quality of its solutions, BoardPAC Co-Founder/CEO, Lakmini Wijesundera stated: “Our growth plan includes expanding our worldwide network, and our strategic alliance with CWEIC will strongly help us extend our presence into Commonwealth territories. The strategic cooperation between CWEIC and BoardPAC is especially relevant in light of the worldwide pandemic, and the emerging need for secure remote working and filling the void in virtual board meetings.”

CWEIC Chairman, Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Marland said: “We are looking forward to work closely with BoardPAC. The alliance will not only help CWEIC to conduct virtual board meetings securely and safely, but also align ourselves with all governance, risk and compliance as well as environmental, social, and governance frameworks.” Echoing this sentiment, CWEIC Deputy Chair, Sir Hugo Swire stated: “We are excited to partner with BoardPAC and extend modern digital governance and compliance solutions to organisations operating in the Commonwealth.”

Disclosing that BoardPAC’s excellent track record inspired confidence within the CWEIC to implement its solution on a global scale, CWEIC Chief Executive, Samantha Cohen CVO added: “We’re delighted that BoardPAC, one of the most renowned virtual board meeting automation providers in the world, joined our network of Strategic Partners. BoardPAC will add significant value to our board and committee meetings, allowing the CWEIC to conduct meetings with its members throughout the Commonwealth more effectively. The partnership also demonstrates the opportunities within the Commonwealth, and the confidence businesses have towards the Commonwealth and CWEIC.”

A commercial, not-for-profit membership organisation, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s network includes around 100 business and government Strategic Partners (members) including Standard Chartered, Zenith Bank, Trade & Investment Queensland and the Government of the Maldives from 30 countries and territories. Every two years, CWEIC hosts the Commonwealth Business Forum in association with the host country of The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

BoardPAC is an award winning, multinational, paperless board meeting automation solutions provider, recognised for driving simple, secure, sustainable and experiential communications for Board and Executive members. Leading corporates such as Petronas, Deloitte, EY, Mercedes Benz, Prudential, Hong Leong Group, Stock Exchange of Malaysia, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Bombay Stock Exchange, Bank Negara, Maybank, Power Grid Corporation of India, Colombo Stock Exchange, and Sri Lankan Airlines are just some of BoardPAC’s success stories, and the Company said the partnership with the CWEIC will pave the way to several more high-profile additions to this list.

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