The move is to celebrate the Swiss multination’s 110 years in the country, and will take place in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s coconut cultivation board.
“This year marks the first time Nestlé is directly engaging with its coconut famers,” said Shivani Hegde, managing director for Nestlé Lanka.
Nestlé will distribute the plantlets to farmers within traditional coconut growing areas, as well as to parts of the country with good potential for growing the trees.
It will also establish new model farms in Nikaweratiya and Kebithigollewa, each with 100 plantlets, with the aim of giving farmers an idea of coconut farm design to benchmark best practices.
The programme will also include intensive technical assistance by the coconut board, including soil tests, provision of manure and other pre- and post-planting assistance.
Coconut is a staple in Sri Lankan cuisine and a significant contributor to the country’s export economy. One of the biggest exporters of coconut milk powder in the world, its Maggi coconut milk powder is shipped to over 50 countries to supply Nestlé and other businesses.
The company purchases coconuts indirectly from 5,000 rural farming families through its suppliers, offering them a sustainable source of income.
Its contribution to the local coconut industry by procuring fresh coconuts for its products came to LKR2.6bn (US$17.6m).