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HNB promotes home gardening in urban areas with Saru Ge-Watte initiative

  • Seeds and fertilizer to be offered at discounted rates 
  • Capacity-building programs to improve technical knowledge for amateur farmers 
  • Encourages home-gardening in urban areas, especially apartment complexes 
  • Initiative to be launched across 9 customer centers in Colombo
  • Plants and seeds distributed to residents of select apartments complexes  
Encouraging home gardening in the urban city of Colombo to combat surging food costs, Sri Lanka’s most customer-friendly Bank HNB PLC, launched its flagship initiative to revive and revitalize the agricultural industry, Saru Ge-Watte across nine selected branches in the city. 

Working in collaboration with agricultural offices at the district level, the second leg of the initiative was launched at the Wellawatta, Thimbirigasyaya, Bambalapitiya, Sea Street, Kollupitiya, Green Path, Head Office, Muttuwal and Kotahena customer centers recently. HNB Deputy General Manager Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Deputy General Manager - CHRO/ CTO, L. Chiranthi Cooray, HNB Deputy General Manager- Legal (Board Secretary) Thushari Ranaweera ,HNB Assistant General Manager  - Microfinance, Vinodh Fernando, HNB Assistant General Manager   SME, K. Indravasan, HNB Regional Business Head -Colombo Region  Somaskandasarma Narenthiran, Agriculture Department Commissioner General, AHML Abeyrathna, Department of Agrarian Development Officer, Shiromi Ratnayake and Agrarian Services Assistant Production Assistant, Ranjith Pushpakumara were present at a special ceremony held to mark the occasion. 

“If you look at the Colombo district it is very densely populated, so the home gardening concept has become smaller and smaller as people are now confined to living in apartments. However, with our initiative people can start growing their fruits and vegetables right on their balconies which will benefit their health and families. 

“Through this initiative, we are encouraging economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, educating citizens and the younger generation about the value of home gardening and cultivation and most importantly providing nutritious meals to every household.” HNB Deputy General Manager - CHRO/ CTO L. Chiranthi Cooray said. 

HNB also distributed plants and seeds to residents and businesses in the area to promote home gardening.

Additionally, HNB officers and officials from the Agricultural Department also invited and visited residents in the vicinity of the four branches to join them in their efforts. The Bank’s extensive portfolio of SME customers working in the sector offered plants, seeds and fertilizer at discounted rates, while Agricultural officers provided short introductory sessions on home gardening. 

Notably, HNB also set up a Podi Podi business for selected microfinance entrepreneurs to sell their products at the customer centers during the launch of the initiative.

Speaking at the event, Agriculture Department Commissioner General, A H M L Abeyrathna stated, “We are proud of this timely initiative since consuming nutritious fruits and vegetables has become vital now more than ever. With the incentives and the support provided by HNB, we hope that one day every household will have its home garden and a source of good food, regardless of the size of its backyard.”  

Moreover, the campaign launched in the Central Province looks to connect farmers in non-banking rural segments with buyers in urban areas. Given the difficulty in making these connections, HNB announced that it would work with its existing customer network to help disintermediate the agriculture sector by creating direct relationships between rural farmers and consumers across the Island. This ensures that farmers receive a decent livelihood from their harvest and customers can opt for a reasonable price for their essential needs.