Meet Ms. Kolugala Yapa Mudiyanselage Dahami Maleesha Divyanjalee of Small Organic Growers Association who is one of the benificiaries the Fairtrade Gender Leadership School project in Sri Lanka. Jackfruit, a beloved seasonal crop, often faced a fate of wastage due to limited consumption avenues beyond its traditional harvest season. Recognizing this inefficiency and the potential to create sustainable solutions, Ms. Divyanjalee and the other members of the organization embarked on a journey to harness by dehydrating jackfruit naturally without using any chemicals as part of Gender Leadership School Mini Project by Fairtrade NAPP. This as a result, extends the shelf life for consumption during off-seasons.  

Ms. Divyanjalee and her peers have been captivated by the society’s dehydrated products. This newfound interest has enabled them to work towards a tangible solution. The meticulous process of operation today, yields approximately 80g of dehydrated jackfruit from 1kg of raw fruit. This helped in impressive 2500 grams of sales. Beyond its role in tackling food waste, dehydrated jackfruit offers unparalleled convenience in cooking, preserves food quality, and enables efficient storage.  

Once constrained by seasonal availability, the dehydration process now preserves the quality and flavour of jackfruit year-round. Hence, this ensures perpetual market demand that generates consistent sales and income throughout the year. In addition, the production of these nutritious food items has successfully met the additional dietary requirements of the members. For Ms. Divyanjalee, the economic benefits have been profound. The additional income generated has made it easier to fulfill her family’s requirements. Moreover, it enables her to invest in healthcare and other necessities.  

While currently available exclusively to members, efforts are underway to supply products to the local market using the income generated for sustainable business growth. With a strong start and increasing demand, the team is committed to delivering a nutritious product to numerous consumers. Fairtrade serves as a transformative force by motivating women like Ms. Kolugala Yapa Mudiyanselage Dahami Maleesha Divyanjalee to reshape their lives. Empowered by Fairtrade’s support, she becomes a catalyst for change by leveraging her skills to create sustainable solutions and uplift her community. Her journey represents the profound impact Fairtrade has in empowering women to pursue their dreams and effect positive change. 

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