Market Solutions for Rural Poverty

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Now Selling at These Locations!
Rural Returns and our partner communities are pleased to announce more retail locations selling your favorite rice - go ahead, try some! Find recipe ideas here. Remember to check back often for more stores and more recipes!

25th July 2014

Letter from the Founder

Beware of Con-Artists!

(Update: Please check the sending address of anyone calling themselves "xxx from Rural Returns" - see below for the only addresses you should trust)

There is Only One “Rural Returns”

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 (

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.

“Ayu” is Our Brand

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.

Please Deal Directly With Rural Returns

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.

We Have Only One Website

That is It ain’t pretty, but glitz is not our thing. Helping farmers is.

These Are Our Social Media IDs

And a lot of the time, it’s mostly me tweeting from

Any other page or website is a fake.

We Are Not (Currently) Exporting to the U.S.

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

Conducting Business

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 or; +94 77 333 1911 or +94 77 735 2240

Mr Upali De Livera – Operations Consultant; +94 77 996 7178

General:; +94 11 733 3191

Any other email, particularly from any other domain, should be treated with extreme suspicion.

Three quarters of the world’s poorest billion people live in rural areas[1,2] and engage in smallholder agriculture[3]

At Rural Returns, we believe the best way to help such people achieve sustainable economic development is through their own efforts - and by linking  them with the resources and the markets to make the best of their abilities.

World Change Starts with Rice

Twitter: RuralReturns

What we do 

We help rural communities achieve higher incomes and invest in sustainable community-led development.

How we do it

We help smallholder farmers identify unique, market-oriented local products and connect them through non-exploitative value chains to stable markets paying a fair price

Rural Returns (Guarantee) Limited is a non-stock, non profit company limited by guarantee in Sri Lanka.

Follow us on  Twitter!

Rural Returns (the company)                                       @RuralReturns
Ayu Rice                                                                  @AyuRiceRR
The Ayu Experience - our overarching brand experience    @AyuExperience

[1]International Fund for Agricultural Development. (2001). Rural Poverty Report. International Fund for Agricultural Development.
[2]The World Bank Group. (2008). World Development Report. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank Group.
[3]Acumen Fund (2008)