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HAND IN HAND Rapunzel project/Sri Lanka


A pioneer project for organic and fair trade coconuts (1998–2018)
In 1990, Rapunzel initiated in Madagascar the first project for organic coconuts in the world. Some years later, Rapunzel started an organic coconut project in Sri Lanka. The Samagi Uyana (" Garden of unity") farm has been supplying Rapunzel with coconut products since 1998. Since 2002 until today, Samagi Uyana has the status of a HAND IN HAND partner. 

The Wjeyasena family farm is located in the so-called coconut triangle in Southwestern Sri Lanka. The farm is mutually owned by Mr. Wjeyasena, his son and his nephew. The farm operation, however, is run by Mr. Wjeyasena and his daughter. Samagi Uyana was one of the first coconut farms with an organic certification. Since the start of the project, many other farmers joined the project. Today, eight peasant families cultivate coconuts on 190 hectares. 

Stephen Sven Hubbes and Manuela Schmid pose at the mango tree that Joseph Wilhelm planted 15 years ago in the Rapunzel Sri Lanka project - a typical ritual for special visitors.
Stephen Sven Hubbes and Manuela Schmid pose at the mango tree that Joseph Wilhelm planted 15 years ago in the Rapunzel Sri Lanka project - a typical ritual for special visitors.
Stephen Sven Hubbes and Manuela Schmid pose at the mango tree that Joseph Wilhelm planted 15 years ago in the Rapunzel Sri Lanka project - a typical ritual for special visitors.

Hand in Hand Logo
Kaffee Grafik

Cultivation, processing and export


Kokospalmen
Kokospalmen

Cultivation of organic coconuts


Diversity is the key. In the organic farms of the Rapunzel project the coconut palms are grown in mixed culture with e.g. pineapples, bananas, pepper, cocoa, coffee and timber. Throughout the year, cattle graze on the grass in the undergrowth of the coconut palms.   

Coconut palms bear fruit during the entire year. The coconuts are harvested every 6-7 weeks. Harvesting is done with a 15 m long bamboo stick that has a knife attached to its end. The collected coconuts are stored at the farms until they are mature and ready for peeling. 
Kokospalme im weitläufigen und grünen Kokoshain
Kokospalme im weitläufigen und grünen Kokoshain

Fair organic cultivation is positive for the environment


The farmers attend to their coconut palms with great care, attentiveness and a lot of manual labor - and they do this systematically and in a sustainable way. Thus, the coconut fibers are used for soil fertilization and for the recovery of potassium. Thanks to the build-up of humus, the water storage capacity of the soil is increased.    

The positive effects for the region are obvious. Anthony, one of the farmers in the HAND IN HAND project, reports about significant advantages for the environment and for his own health: „Organic fair trade cultivation has a lot of positive ecological effects. It prevents water pollution that is a big problem in Sri Lanka."

Hard shell - white fruit pulp


Once the fibrous shells of the coconuts are removed, the coconuts are transported to one of the mills in Desicolanka, Ganewatte Mill or Henegama Mill. There, they are processed to dried coconut rasps or chips. In a first step, workers remove the hard, brown outer shell and in a second step, female workers remove the inner brown skin. The end product is pure, white coconut pulp.  

Subsequently, the white pulp is washed, crushed, blanched and dried, resulting in delicious Rapunzel coconut rasps and chips. 

What makes HAND IN HAND important for the coconut farmers


Rapunzel pays his HAND IN HAND partners - also the suppliers of the Sri Lanka project -  a fair price that includes an organic and a fair trade bonus. The purchasing price is negotiated with the farmers and the coconut mills.  

This empowers the organic farmers and the coconut mills to pay their workers wages that exceed legally prescribed salaries. Hired workers also receive free-of-charge accomodation and social insurance. Rapunzel makes sure that there is no child labor and that the work conditions for all workers are humane and save.   
Kokosnüsse ohne äußere Faserhülle, aber noch mit der harten Steinschale – wie man sie auch hierzulande kaufen kann.
Kokosnüsse ohne äußere Faserhülle, aber noch mit der harten Steinschale – wie man sie auch hierzulande kaufen kann.

Rapunzel trains local farmeers


For Rapunzel, it is very important to provide hands-on advice to Rapunzel suppliers. For the coconut project in Sri Lanka, Rapunzel hired Mr. Murugiah Rajasingham as a consultant. Murugiah also optimizes the different processing steps. A close and direct contact with Rapunzel suppliers is a decisive factor of the HAND IN HAND coconut project.   

Education and health care greatly improved


Thanks to the HAND IN HAND partnership not only the ecological and economic situation of the people improved, but the program was also used to promote education and health care. 

"With the HAND IN HAND bonus, we could significantly improve the educational level of our children and our health care situation", explains Anthony, "for example through the financing of school books and the purchase of important measuring devices for the district hospital."
HAND IN HAND

Fair trade and organic farming are central for Rapunzel


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