April, 9, 2019
Creating a sustainable future for smallholders, helping them flourish and thus ensuring a supply of sustainably sourced ingredients transforming rural livelihoods and the agricultural sector of the island has been a continuous ambition of Elephant House.
As an iconic and much-loved brand, enriching many different communities, Elephant House nearly two decades ago, embarked on an ambitious corporate social responsibility project sourcing its raw ginger requirement from smallholder farmers.
Providing over 400 farmers with a strong foundation for growth, Elephant House exclusively sources the ginger to produce its hugely popular ‘Elephant House Ginger Beer or ‘EGB’. This ensures EGB is derived from 100% natural ginger extract and maintains its remarkably unique taste.
Impressively, Elephant House has purchased over 50 metric tonnes of dried ginger in 2018 alone. Additionally, the company has achieved an even greater milestone with its overall raw ginger purchases to-date surpassing 2,100 metric tonnes.
Farming communities engaged in ginger cultivation are spread across Hatharaliyadda, Aludeniya, Poojapitiya, Haguranketha, Gampola, Gampaha, Galle, Kurunegala and even in Colombo. Additionally another 1,500 are indirectly involved in cultivating this treasured crop.
While being committed to change and aware of the challenges in improving the yields and livelihoods of these smallholder farmers, Elephant House understands the importance of holistic solutions.
Partnering several institutions, Elephant House has been able to promote and leverage the agribusiness development of the farmers.
Championing and helping to revitalize this farming community, through forward buying agreements introduced by the Central Bank, Elephant House ensures the farmers receive an equitable rate which eliminates fluctuations, safeguarding them.
The agreement has several benefits to the farmers as it eliminates price fluctuations, enables them to estimate in advance the cash equivalent of the yield, eliminates the exploitative middleman and ensures maximum utilization of bare land.
In partnership with Regional Development Bank, farmers also receive access to loan facilities, helping to increase their profit margins.
Additionally, the company conducts awareness and training programmes in good agricultural practices. Elephant House provides mentoring advice ensuring visibility and resilience needed to achieve a truly sustainable supply chain.
Through regular training programmes the company not only strengthens connections with these smallholders but supports them in areas such as health, nutrition, education and sustainable agricultural methods.
Empowering women ginger farmers is another important initiative undertaken by Elephant House. Helping women smallholders scale their farms and build their businesses, the company’s ‘Women Empowerment project’ supports the cultivation of ginger in bags at their home gardens with assistance from the National House Development Authority.
“Sourcing ginger homegrown by the farming community enables us to offer a beverage distinctively unique and uncompromised in quality. At the same time we help them grow their produce in a more sustainable way contributing towards a better life, not only for their families, but also for their local communities,” remarked Daminda Gamlath, Sector Head – Consumer Foods & Executive Vice President – John Keells Group.
By building stronger, closer connections to these smallholder farmers who supply the company with the essential agricultural raw ingredient such as ginger, Elephant House grows their business, improves their livelihoods and sets them on a firm footing towards future growth.