Private forestry based on Paulownia in Sri Lanka: an appraisal of the outgrower scheme presented by Paulownia Plantations LTD
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The appraisal was carried out during one week in October 2002. The team met with the Norwegian Embassy, representatives from the Paulownia Plantations Ltd, forestry and agriculture authorities at central and local level, community members and representatives from other relevant projects. They have assessed the feasibility of the outgrower scheme presented by Paulownia Plantations LTD, in relation to possible donor funding of some of the activities. The team has found that the project would fit well with current policies regarding forest development in Sri Lanka, and that there is a market potential for the final products. The production potential is high compared to many other species used in Sri Lanka. The environmental effects of Paulownia plantation are seen as positive, but more research is needed before national level programmes should be launched. The outgrower scheme is seen as an innovative approach to private sector development in the forestry sector in Sri Lanka. The programme carries a good potential for economic development in the district where it will be launched. The programme needs further elaboration and detailed planning, and NORAD is recommended to request a new proposal spelling out in more detail certain elements of the programme. The contractual relationship between the company and the farmers will be crucial, as well as the strategy for linking up with up with existing extension services and community organisations. Given certain clarifications related to the above, the consultants recommend donor support to the outgrower scheme, including an extension component and an R&D programme. A proposed payback scheme from the farmers at the time of harvesting should be organised as a refund into the community development fund, providing a sustainable option for continuation of the ongoing general community development activities in the concerned villages.