Responding to our inquiry, Chairman of HVA Rohan Fernando said, he hopes to locate the organic farm on 500 acres of land near the Southern border of the Wilpattu National Park.
“HVA has invested Rs20 million up to date on the project and are looking to invest another Rs100million-Rs200 million in the future. We are hoping to create employment for around 100 families.’
Negotiations with the government for the lease agreement for the said land are currently underway with an aim of starting work on the land beginning October.
Furthermore, plans are in place to build 10-15 eco-bungalows on 50 acres of private land adjoining the farm.
According Fernando, the farm is to be based on another model farm that HVA has in the area which grows crops such cashew, mango and oranges.
“The aim of the project is to produce 100% organic produce as well as to build a nursery of heritage root stock to help sustain the local ecology,” he pointed out.
Fernando also noted that Phase-two of the project is aimed at involving out growers systems where the farm will give farmers the resources to start their own farms with the aim of buying back that produce.
Work on the eco-bungalows is targeted to begin simultaneously with the farm which will be ready in a year’s time.
“We are excited about this project to build real eco-bungalows which will incorporate reverse osmosis clay air conditioners and solar panels for roofing material that will be capable of heating water and generating electricity” HVA Chairman remarked.
He further said that the project was first initiated as far back 1998 when the government of that time was supporting initiatives for organic farming, but was caught up in legal battles for a period of 10 years culminating in a decision being given in favor of HVA by the Supreme Court.
Since then, the project has been granted presidential approval and HVA Farms is now in the process of recruiting staff for its organic farm.
“The model farm has been running for the duration of our legal battle, so we have 10 years of data on rain and sunshine figures and we have transformed the soil to a better pH value” Fernando added.
Heladiv Foods, a subsidiary of HVA Group recently came up with its Initial Public Offering of Rs.319 million offering 30 percent stake (19,928,598 Ordinary Voting Shares) of the company to the public at Rs.16.