PRODUCER & TERROIR
Life under the coconut trees!
Between coconut and Mr. Keerthi Ranwala, it’s a story that has lasted a long time. He has been working on his family farm close to Maeliya for 20 years, like his parents before him. In addition to coconut, he also develops food crops such as rice. Thanks to the stable income provided by these crops, he ensures that his 2 daughters follow an exemplary school career.
The Plantation “Sandalankawa Estate” is located on a coastal land, with a tropical humid climate. The soil is formed by laterites and sands. This region keeps a stable temperature between 28 and 32 ° C and a significant rainfall between 1200 to 2000mm per year. It is this combination of the presence of the ocean and the rain that will allow the coconut to create its water. All of these conditions enhance the taste and texture of the coconut cream.
“Our plots are in the ’coconut triangle’ where we have the perfect climate for particularly aromatic coconuts.”Experienced coconut farmer
Seeds, a guarantee of quality
An important resource for the country, coconut cultivation is closely monitored by the government to ensure its quality, especially on seeds.
In recent years there has been a shortage of good quality seeds. The collective to which Keerthi belongs has created with his colleagues its own nursery from the highest quality seeds certified by the State. Nicknamed the “coconut nursery”, it plans to have its first 100 trials to be tested in 2021.
Local and natural methods
Mastering the Zero Pesticide Residue culture, he always finds new natural ways to protect his coconuts from predators such as the red palm weevil and black beetle. It removes and burns the infected parts by the presence of larvae. He sets up pheromone traps where males are attracted and drowned. Even more innovative, he sprays a mixture of neem oil obtained from locally grown neem seeds and sulfur which acts as a repellant against these pests. Harvesting requires great mastery as the farm’s harvesters have to climb trees to hand-collect the coconuts, which are produced throughout the year.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ACTION
Circular economy and support for schooling
Committed to an environmental approach, Keerthi has withdrawn all the plastic used in its operation. All packaging or labels used in the field are biodegradable. Our on-site partner who processes fresh coconuts practices zero waste. The coconut shells are reused on the farm to increase water retention in the soils and improve their structure. But also for the production of fiber which will be used in crafts and local industry (ropes, carpets, etc.).
On the plantation we also take care of the employees. Breakfast and lunch are provided to employees at a very low rate. And to prepare for the future, the children of employees have had free school supplies since 2008. Those who pass the grade 5 examination of their schooling are offered a bonus of 10,000 Sri Lankan Rupees, or 50 euros (20% of the average monthly salary in Sri Lanka).