A village level MSME business development initiative of the IRDG

A MOU between the University of Jaffna and IRDG has been initiated for community outreach and as a part of university business link

IRDG CEO Mr SIvagurunathan Rangarajah negotiated a landmark MOU for social advancement of the province, with the University of Jaffna (UoJ).

Under this MOU IRDG's CABD would be supported by all of its 10 faculties of the UoJ and joint activities have already commenced.

University private link will facilitate students to

•Enter the private sector via this initiative

•Improve social conscious and contribution to the society

•Seek expression of student interest

•Ensure alignment with course work and curricular

•Develop student engagement model

•Develop monitoring and governance structure

Students who join IRDG CABD will

•Help mobilise villagers to provide hope for a better future

•Visit villages, become a business project designer, help manage projects and Micro-SME businesses

•Select products, industry sectors /services to create businesses

•Become a trainer in business development/project management

•Involve and help set-up support service providers in engineering

•Perform researches and offer solutions to real life challenges

CABD is preparing to enter organic revolution

Friends of Nature (FoN) model farm.

CABD enters organic revolution by developing a large scale organic model farm with focus on protected agriculture.

Project Mentor

Dr A Kandiah has agreed to support this initiative as our mentor. Prof Arumugam Kandiah completed his Ph.D. in Water Resources Engineering, at the University of California, Davis, USA. He worked as a freelance consultant to UNDP, World Bank, Global Environmental Facility (GEF), multilateral and bilateral donor agencies and international NGOs.

Project Director

Mr M Pathmashankar B.Sc.(SP)(Hons) in Agriculture, MBA. Shankar has over 15years hands on experience in agriculture gained by his involvement with several projects conducted by INGOs and United Nations Agencies and will be the project director of this farm.

Shankar has designed, developed and published a guide book on ‘Organic Fertilizer and Pesticide Preparation and application in Tamil.

Project sponsor

Mr Naga Narendran ACMA, CPA, CGMA . Naga is a supply chain, finance and business expert with over 40 years experience including in top tier multinational institutions at strategic level.

The project details

  • Has secured two 8-Acre lands totaling 16-Acres
  • Has conducted workshops, meetings and has established a project team
  • Has engaged the assistance of the University of Jaffna for the project
  • Is developing collaborative arrangements with other institutional stakeholders
  • Has a finalised project concept document and is in discussion with funding bodies

Compost production

-Commercial Scale Compost Production including Vermicompost

Model Farm

–High-yielding crops and seedling production targeted

–To test minimum 20 products for commercial viability and as candidates for “One Village – One Product” strategy

–To establish baseline financials ie yield, cost, wastage and profit to create models

–Introduce advanced farming techniques and technologies

–Introduce all year around protected cultivation for price stabilisation

Prof G Mihunthan will lead a technical consultative committee and work closely with Prof Kandiah to assist this model farm.

The consultative team will be formed with participation from other universities and with representatives from large scale commercial organic farmers from South India.

Business Development Capacity building initiative launched by the CABD

Naga Narendran Director IRDG. COO CABD

Jana Jananayagam Masters in International Trade and Commerce Law, Eng International Consultant

Param Paramanathan International Consultant Irrigation

IRDG has initiated a business management capacity building program in collaboration with the University of Jaffna, International Institute of Development Training (IIDT) and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). A three day workshop will be held to 15 post graduate candidates on project design, project documentation, project management and business management. The candidates will in turn train 3 candidates each over a period of two months.

This program is intended to create a MSME development management resource pool to be engaged in CABD initiatives.

Naga Narendran Director IRDG said " business management capacity is seriously lacking in the northern province and needs to be boosted. This initiative will also provide opportunities for the participating candidates a career path that is more aligned with the province and country development strategy. MSME is expected to play a significant role in rural job creation".

This scheme will also bust the myth that government jobs are the only pathway for financial security and committed candidates will have a career path from project designer, project manager to business manager and executive. Enterprise management will become the pinnacle of their career path that will lead to candidates becoming managing directors of significant commercial entities.

Mahesan Pathmashankar Project Director

CABD initiates On the job training (OJT)

CABD is in discussion with several vocational training institutions to provide on the job training (OJT) for the students who have completed their vocational training courses.

Vocational training courses provide generalised training and a wider understanding of the chosen field. OJT will prepare the candidates to engage in sustainable livelihood.

Preference would be given to female candidates and the OJT will last from 6 to 9 months. The Project Director of the CABD Pathmashankar said

"the students will be trained to specialise on one product, through its entire product growing and marketing cycle. The period of training will correspond to this cycle. At the end of this OJT qualified candidates are expected to have adequate knowledge and skills to be able to grow their chosen product independently with good understanding of its commercial outcome and marketing prospect.

During the training period candidates will be assessed for their aptitude and progress being made. Options for the candidates career path would be job offer from CABD, CABD supported self employment within the CABD infrastructure or supported to start an enterprise collectively with other participants or as an agrientrepreneur.

"Team IRDG" visits Agriculture Research Center at Makendura

IRDGs Director of the Center for Agribusiness Development (CABD) Pathmashankar organised a study tour to the Makandura Agriculture Research and Development Center for the IRDG team members.

As CABD is entering the organic revolution and it is now starting with compost making. The tour provided an awareness of hands on compost making and for the team members to gain a very good understanding of all aspects of compost making.

Project Director Pathmashankar said "this study tour helped to validate the project concept that we developed and we could now start our project immediately".