Thilakarathne and his neighbouring farmers had 50 acres of land in which they grew rubber trees while tending to their paddy fields and other crops. Yet due to the slow harvest many families made less of an income and often struggled to make ends meet.
Although the farmers grew cocoa trees alongside rubber, they lacked the knowledge and proper equipment to properly cultivate cocoa. By reaching out to OXFAM, they were able to receive proper training and production techniques.
While the men work on pruning and cultivating the trees the women support in nurturing and processing the harvest. Everyone contributes together as a community for the care and growth of the crops.
Oxfam’s project officers made field visits to monitor the trees while providing knowledge and training on how to care for and increase the harvest of the cocoa trees.
Special pruning equipment was provided with training to better nurture the trees in time for the next harvest.
In time, the trees yielded a bountiful harvest and farmers gathered the crops and prepared to process the cocoa from their homes.
With the success of the Cocoa plantation, Thilakarathne wished to expand their processing capacity and with the support of the European Union the farmers are now constructing their very own cocoa processing centre.
The farmers face challenges such as dealing with wild monkeys who eat the fruits damaging much of the crop.
The farmers and their families put in a lot of hard work caring for the trees and processing the fruits to make this a growing enterprise.
Each member of these families contributes to making their lives better while improving their skills and knowledge.