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Modelfarm Dikkapitiya

A smile for nature

Dikkapitiya is the model farm of Little Smile Organic (LSO). It lies on the south-east side of the highlands at the road between Beragala and Wellawaya (A4) at milestone 193 at an altitude of approximately 800 meters. Also belonging to LSO are the farms Rajagiri and Luxmi Estate located within a radius of 5 km.

When Michael Kreitmeir bought Dikkapitiya in 2007, the farm was completely run down. Until 1980 sugar cane had been cultivated there for more than 50 years, parts of the mountain jungle were cleared ruthlessly and the nature severely damaged. The results were fatal since the land was lying under an enormous mountain massif. A violent landslide destroyed large parts of the workers settlements, the farm had been sold several times and was increasingly neglected. Weeds and thorns grew exuberantly and the remaining houses dilapidated. Thus, in the first three years Michael Kreitmeir concentrated his works mainly on renaturation and reforestation as well as the establishment of drain systems and the building of retaining walls.

The founder and director of the children’s aid organization – the Little Smile Association – pursued five objectives with the purchase of the farm:

  • Dikkapitiya should demonstrate as a model farm that an organic and environmentally compatible agriculture can be economically successful.
  • On the farm we train qualified and motivated specialist staff, especially children from socially disadvantaged families or children from Little Smile’s children’s homes.
  • Preference is given to single or abandoned women and widows to give them the chance to ensure a better life for themselves and for their children.
  • Due to his private economic engagement in an official BOI (Board of Investment) project, Michael Kreitmeir got a permit of residence even in very difficult times and was thus able to develop and control LSA’s numerous social projects without forced interruptions.
  • In the long term proceeds from the farm are supposed to secure the maintenance of the children’s village Mahagedara, a partner project founded in 1998 and located only 7 km away, as well as other nature conservation projects.

After initial difficulties with unreliable workers Shiran Silva was put in charge as manager of the farm in 2008 and ensured from this moment on a continuous strengthening and expansion. Thanks to his strong commitment the organic farm in Dikkapitiya is one of the few farms in Sri Lanka today for which nature conservation, organic products and a high social standard for workers is more important than profit maximization and quick profit.

Since 2014 we no longer waste money for expensive certifications, because we cannot understand why a controller costs more on one day than a worker here earns in a whole year. Little Smile guarantees with its name – among other things – “clean” products. We do not buy trust, we earn it!

Stages of development:

2007:                  

Purchase of the farm in Dikkapitiya and restoring of environmental damage as well as large-scale reforestation. First planting of cinnamon, pepper, vanilla and cloves.

since 2008:    

Renovation of houses and further reforestation, intensification of cultivation and building of walls and drain systems – Shiran Silva assumes the management of the farm.

since 2009:    

First exports of our spices to Germany to the spice mill AVO in Belm. Start of co-operations with various farmer groups and small co-operatives in our region and in Kandy. Construction of a huge cowshed allowing species-appropriate keeping, a building for the production of cinnamon, houses for the workers.

2010:         

Purchase of the farm Rajagiri (kingscliff) – maintenance and extension of its tea gardens, fencing of the location and construction of houses for the workers.

2011:         

Construction of the sorting and storing hall in a traditional style in Dikkapitiya, setting up water supply and big tanks for Rajagiri as well as the construction of a guesthouse in Rjagiri.

2012:         

Beginning with the direct marketing of Little Smile spices; purchase of Luxmi Estate – fencing the location and renovation of the farm building.

2013:         

Start of construction of a factory in Dikkapitiya and further cultivation of spices in all three farms of Little Smile Organic.

2014:         

Start of construction of the farm’s guest houses, further extension of the spice plantations and starting with the sale of Ceylon coffee and Little Smile vanilla.

Plans for 2015:

Completion of the factory and start of the production of plates and bowls from palm leaves for the company Pacovis and for self-marketing.

Completing of ten bungalows for guests of the organic farm in Dikkapitiya.