With lockdowns in both Sri Lanka and India and disturbed transport chains, the supply of coco substrates is under pressure. Jack van Batenburg with Shakti Cocos explains how the company tries to take care of their production and their people.
Sri Lanka and India are Shakti Cocos' main production regions for coco substrates. Both those countries are in lockdown, until at least April 15 in India, and for Sri Lanka no end date is given yet. Shakti Cocos is forced to close facilities for some period, which will affect both production capacity and delivery times. The offices are closed and containers cannot be loaded and shipped. Courier companies are not working either, meaning pending documents of shipped containers can't be send.
Shakti Cocos only has an office in the Netherlands, no stock. The production of the coco substrates is more or less per order. The product is custom-made for every customer, depending on the crop they grow and the specific situation of the grower. Because most of the products are customized, Shakti Cocos can't really keep stock. And now, in the 'peak season', any stock they did have and what's produced is immediately shipped. Next to the lockdown, India has had to deal with an extremely wet and long monsoon end 2019, which resulted in fairly no production possible till the middle of January 2020.
"We don't know yet what the economic consequences of this crisis and the lockdown are going to be. "Of course, customers choose our product because it gets them the highest yield for their products. If people now buy plants, and buy substrate from us but that can't be delivered, what will they do?" That is the question for Shakti Cocos. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."
It's especially hard on workers in Sri Lanka and India. There isn't a social 'security net' like there is here. They really are not allowed to leave their houses and have to make do with the food they have in the house and with what they can get during some limited hours they can go for shopping. Everything is closed. Besides, the circumstances are different there. People are used to living outdoors, so their living space is small and hot. "A part of our staff has permanent employment, others are temporary workers, who, when there is not much work on the field, knock on our door to see if we have any work for them. This is truly a big matter of concern to me," says Jack.
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