On March 19, the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) declared a partial shutdown of all ports and a nationwide lock-down since March 20 with the exceptions of agriculture activities. The Fairtrade producer organizations continue to carry out its operations on the field. As such the dissemination of information on COVID19 awareness, and its preventive measures to the grass-root level,  becomes a crucial requirement to be followed by all producers for the safety of its workers and farmers. With an immediate need to address the concern, the NAPP Field Operations Team has carried out certain awareness drive along with physical training and guidance to support the Fairtrade producers to carry out its normal activities without any hindrance, and to create conditions for them to adapt to the changing scenario owing to the current pandemic.

COVID19 Awareness Drive Support

7500 COVID 19 awareness handbills and 300 large posters were distributed among all tea plantation workers and communities to create awareness and prevent the spread of infection among the farmers and workers. The information also provides appropriate steps to be taken during an emergency along with helpline contact numbers.

Facilitating Fairtrade premium committee to take decisions and donate support items during a Fire break out at Abbotsleigh Estate (Hatton Plantations Limited); FLO ID 18792

Recently during a fire break out the single barrack line room was partially destroyed at Abbotsleigh Estate (Hatton Plantations). The NAPP Operations team assisted the committee members by proposing ways to effectively utilize the FT premium fund to support the victims under such criteria. Though no casualties were reported the victims were moved to temporary shelter, to help them cope with the incident.

One day Refresher training session to Fairtrade Officers of Hatton plantations on Fairtrade Standard requirements

On the request of Hatton plantations Tea Company, NAPP organized training on Fairtrade standards, its requirements, and Fairtrade Premium Committee functions, which was attended by 7 organizations.  The training was carried out under a mutual agreement between the parties to strictly adhere to and uphold all safety measures such as no physical contact during greetings and 01-meter distance during the training, the mandatory wearing of a mask by the participants and provision of hand sanitizers inside and outside the training hall. No meals were organized and both the parties were requested to bring in homemade meals and beverages.

‘’Organizing this kind of training with strict measures diligently followed by all the attendees will help the stakeholders cope with the evolving situations in many ways. During normal days the producers are busy with their routine agri-activities, hence we made sure to utilize the time allotted for training to its full capacity. Since the organizations have been inactive for the last two months, the training certainly provided a refresher to the requirements of Fairtrade Standards and its compliance. We received good feedback from the producers and they have internally agreed to arrange such a meet up once every month’– Arm Arutselvan, Program Consultant, Sri Lanka

Post Audit Support

Post audit support service has been provided by NAPP on the request from the Concordia Estate with all the safety measures in place. The estate has been de-certified post the surveillance audit held in 2018. The Fairtrade Officer, Admin Officer, Assistant Manager, and Secretary of FPC also participated in the discussion. A detailed report of Napp’s recommendation has been given to the company’s sustainability manager.

It is commendable to see the NAPP team in Sri Lanka already extending its support to the producers to adjust to the new normal by working collaboratively. Such an approach with strict measures in place can certainly help the producers to not only enhance their productivity and keep their standards in check, but also boost their morale to continue their agri-activities in spite of the ongoing challenges.

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