Greening Batticaloa, an initiative to plant 1 million cashew trees was commenced in 2010 by Dilmah Conservation in an effort to mitigate the detrimental impacts of deforestation and climate change, and economically empower local communities. The project is expected to reach completion in 2019. Till date 730, 000 cashew trees have been planted.
Cashew nut was chosen because it is a highly adaptive, fast-growing cash crop that requires little attention. If 50 % of the plants reach maturity, they are expected to generate 1 kg of cashew per year. After completion in 2019, if cashew sales continue at the rate of 2000 LKR per kg, this project is expected to inject 1 billion LKR into the eastern economy yearly.
- Utilizing marginal lands of the East
- Increasing forest cover in the East
- Urban greening and tree planting (mostly under home plot management)
- Livelihood avenue for cashew growers
- Eradication of soil erosion and strengthening of soil compost
- Since commencing in 2010, 700,000 cashew plants have since been distributed to selected families and planted in the Batticaloa District. The project is expected to reach completion in 2019, a year earlier than expected.
- This project helped Dilmah Headquarters in Peliyagoda, Sri Lanka achieve carbon neutrality in 2017.
- The halfway point of the project was celebrated in January 2017 when 500,000 cashew plants were successfully planted.
- Land owners have been encouraged to plant other cash crops at a small scale so that they would have an income throughout the year when cashew is not in season. Plants such as manioc and green beans are some of the crops being planted/harvested in between the cashew plants.
- Dilmah Conservation has successfully completed the construction of a centre to process cashew, comprising of a cashew drying oven, cashew nut roasting machine and a cashew peeling machine.