Macksons supports toxin-free sustainable agriculture

Macksons Group, the manufacturer of Sri Lankan heritage brand Multilac Paints and Macktiles floor tiles, in collaboration with the University of Colombo, is offering a certificate course in organic agriculture, aimed at supporting toxin-free agriculture.

Macksons Group Managing Director Mizver Makeen said: “We are a Sri Lankan entity and as a 100% home grown conglomerate, we are committed to supporting the Government’s long-term goal of providing toxin-free meals to all Sri Lankans. At Macksons we believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) entails going beyond mere one-off projects simply to boost our corporate brand. Instead, we keenly feel the pulse of the nation and work closely with our fellow Sri Lankans, uniting in our efforts to build a better future. Although we are not an agro-based group, we feel it is our duty to support our nation during its time of need for organic solutions in agriculture.”

“Sri Lanka has overly relied on chemical fertilisers resulting in the addition of poisonous agrochemicals to our diet. This has compromised the nutritional value of staple foods such as rice, and endangered the health of future generations. We have launched several projects to expand organic farming in the country and lay the foundation for building toxin-free agriculture practices. In addition to the health benefits, the country can decrease spending crucial foreign exchange on importing chemical fertilisers and harmful pesticides,” Makeen added.

Macksons said scientific and technical knowledge is essential for proper cultivation and proper production of fertilisers and pesticides. “We are so fortunate to have eminent lecturers of the University of Colombo Institute of Agricultural Technology and Rural Studies in Weligatta, Hambantota, joining hands with us to share their expertise,” he said.

The course aims to provide both practical and theoretical knowledge on organic farming and fertiliser production. The knowledge imparted will undoubtedly be of great benefit to farmers, entrepreneurs, regulators and consultants of the Agri Services Institutions who are engaged in the production of organic fertilisers.

“At Multilac, we were able to introduce non-toxic paints to our country with international certification from IPEN, USA. We strongly feel that if traditionally harmful and toxic products like paint can be made non-toxic, transforming Sri Lanka into an organic agriculture-based nation is not an impossible task,” Makeen noted.

The first batch of 17 students participated in a 14-day residential workshop and completed the course on 3 February at the University of Colombo’s Institute of Agricultural Technology and Rural Studies in Weligatta, Hambantota. It is noteworthy to mention the fact that the second batch was also enrolled recently. Participants who successfully complete the course will be supported to further enhance their knowledge and become organic farming trainers in their locality. Candidates who wish to attend future workshops should contact 0719841115 via SMS or email  Macksons group is committed to widely disseminating knowledge of toxin-free agricultural practices. The course contents can be made available to those who wish to educate themselves but are unable to participate due to time constraints.

Macksons has also invested in a three-acre property in Kahathuduwa for a pilot research project to develop different varieties of crops. The Group also intends to commence a pilot organic fertiliser manufacturing unit together with the University of Colombo. The unit aims to broaden scientifically proven methods of organic cultivation, the production of organic fertiliser, and organic non-toxic pest control systems.