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25th July 2014
Letter from the Founder
(Update: Please check the sending address of anyone calling themselves "xxx from Rural Returns" - see below for the only addresses you should trust)
Rural Returns (Guarantee) Limited – hereafter referred to as “Rural Returns” – has been registered and operating in good standing as a Company limited by Guarantee since 4th November 2009, with the Company Number GL 2072 assigned by the Sri Lankan Registrar of Companies. I came up with the name, and I hand-drew the logo, when the company itself was still a dream. Stanford Business School, where I studied for my MBA, helped me work towards that dream as an inaugural Social Innovation Fellow as I graduated in 2009 (http://csi.gsb.stanford.edu/j-charitha-chari-ratwatte-09-social-innovation-fellow)
The Rural Returns name and logo are protected intellectual property, and carry the goodwill and positive associations created by years of hard work by my team and myself.
I am reliably informed that other parties have been negotiating business deals and trading on the trust and goodwill of the Rural Returns name. Make sure you know who you are dealing with! Read on so you know how to be sure you are dealing with the real Rural Returns. The real Rural Returns works with real smallholder farmers on the ground. We don’t just show up at the farm gate on harvest day, or deal with wholesalers, middlemen or big conglomerates. Our relationships with farmers start long before the first clod of earth is turned or the first seed is planted – and last for years.
I came up with the brand concept in 2011 when I realised that I had been misled for long enough by a former friend and “business” associate (he never really conducted much business apart from getting himself a U.S. work permit and paying himself salaries) who was supposed to be in charge of sales in the U.S. I came up with the name primarily with the Sri Lankan consumer in mind. “Ayu” is the stem of many words and concepts woven deeply into our ancient culture of wellness and goodness, and it has strong associations and recall with our daily lives. The “Ayu” name and sub-brands too are part of the Company’s Intellectual Property and it is being processed for, and until finalisation is protected under, intellectual property laws.
Business relationships change or end for all kinds of reasons. Non-performance, fraud, misrepresentation and the like are some of the less pleasant reasons. As Rural Returns’ founder, my ultimate responsibility is to the Mission and to the principles of transparency, honesty and good business. I have made just about every possible mistake in the book during this long journey, and I have learnt a lot – especially to avoid repeating the same mistakes and when to call a spade a spade.
Please make sure you are dealing directly with authorised officials from Rural Returns – see below - and for any clarification, always check back with Rural Returns itself.
That is www.ruralreturns.org. It ain’t pretty, but glitz is not our thing. Helping farmers is.
And a lot of the time, it’s mostly me tweeting from http://www.twitter.com/Diya_Rakusa
Any other page or website is a fake.
The last time we exported rice to the U.S. was around 700Kg in 2010. If anyone claims to be selling Rural Returns rice in the U.S. – they are lying to you or have been gravely misled. I suggest you check a few things. Where are they telling the FDA they are storing and processing their products? I suggest you have someone pay that place a visit and ask a few questions, like who really works with them and how.
The current Directors of the Company are as below:
· Mr J.C. Ratwatte Jr. (that’s me)
· Mr J.C. Ratwatte Sr.
· Mr Rasika P. Muthukumarana
· Dr R. Shanthi Wilson Wijeratnam
Previous Directors, since retired, are
· Mr Rajaratnam Subramaniam
· Mr J.D. Bandaranayake
Business is currently conducted with the involvement of at least one of the people below. If they are not in the loop, you are most likely being conned.
Myself, Mr J.C. Ratwatte Jr. – Managing Director
Mr Upali De Livera – Operations Consultant
Upali@ruralreturns.org; +94 77 996 7178
General: firstname.lastname@example.org; +94 11 733 3191
Any other email, particularly from any other domain, should be treated with extreme suspicion.