“I dream of a world where my children and the people of my country can have vegetables that are not harmful to their health”. Mrs. Malani Jayesekara is an inspiring entrepreneur in her early seventies, producing organic fertilizers and growing vegetables, fruits and coffee plants while adhering to organic farming practices. She has moved beyond the conventional market oriented agricultural practices which have a high agrochemical usage and impacts the environment and human health. As the demand for organic products are growing with the promotion of sustainable agriculture practices in Sri Lanka, there is tremendous potential to tap in the market.
Malani’s enterprise ‘Malshani’ is in Lindula, Nuwara Eliya. The enterprise has 15 employees to maintain its coffee plant nursery of more than 15,000 plants, grown only with the use of organic fertilizers. Malani is a certified seed handler for export coffee plants. She provides coffee plants to the Agricultural Department and estates by growing coffee plants according to the standard organic cultivation practices recommended by the Department.
Malani received financial support from the EU funded ENTERPRISE Project from which she procured necessary equipment for organic fertilizer production and establishing a poly tunnel to develop Pepino cultivation. ENTERPRISE further provided her training on business growth and business coaching and mentoring to develop her entrepreneurial skills. Malani says “Though many organizations appreciated my organic cultivation, none of them were willing to provide financial support due to my age. But the support I received from the ENTERPRISE project not only gave me tremendous motivation, but also gave me the recognition I needed to push further. Now there are many organizations coming forward to support me”.