5) Advisors

Business Advisors

Mr. Chrisantha Perera

Mr. Chrisantha Perera is a leading figure in the Sri Lankan Tea industry. Mr. Perera joined Forbes & Walker Ltd. as a Trainee Executive in 1961, was confirmed as an Executive in 1962, was invited to join the Board in 1975 and was appointed Chairman in 1999. He retired in 2005 as Chairman of Forbes & Walker Ltd. and its subsidiaries including Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers, Forbes & Walker Commodity Brokers, Forbes Services and Forbes & Walker Warehousing (Pvt) Ltd.

Mr. Perera is currently Director/Consultant, Lankem Tea & Rubber Plantations (Pvt) Ltd. He is also a Director of the Public Listed Companies DFCC Bank and Kotagala Plantations PLC, as well as of Lankem Tea & Rubber Plantations (Pvt) Ltd, Agarapatana Plantations Ltd., Delmege Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd., Indo Asia Teas (Pvt) Ltd., and Insite Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. Mr. Perera Chairs the Boards of Avondale Tea Factories (vt) Ltd., Anglo Ceylon Estates (Pvt) Ltd., and Ceylon Tea Brokers (Pvt) Ltd.

Mr. Perera is a Committee Member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board and as a Trustee of several important civic organizations. He is also a past Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, the Public Enterprises Reform Commission and the Bank of Ceylon. Mr. Perera has been and continues to be active in many civic and social organizations related to the Tea Trade.

Mr. Rajaratnam Subramaniam

Mr. Raj. Subramaniam, Principal Executive Director, SLBDC is a Chartered Management Accountant and a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA), UK and has a Diploma in Public Financial Management (DPFM) Sri Lanka. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Management Sri Lanka, a chartered body incorporated by Act of Parliament No. 66 of 1988.

Mr. Subramaniam has over 30 years experience in Public Sector, Statutory Boards, Corporate Sector and even Education Sector both in Sri Lanka and abroad. On his return from the United Kingdom, he joined Sri Lanka Business Development Center from January 1997 as Executive Director in charge of Administration, Finance and Training functions including Entrepreneurship Development and Enterprise Promotion. Under his leadership several training programs on “Generate Your Business” (GYB), Start Your Business (SYB), and Improve Your Busness (IYB) including  the preparation of Business Plans, based on the I.L.O. Model were conducted for different target groups throughout the country.

Mr. subramaniam is actively engaged in the entrepreneurship development activities and enterprise promotion initiatives of the International Labor Organization and was the first President of the Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) Association a successor to the ILO Project on Entrepreneurship Development. He held office as its President for 2 years and as Treasure for 1 year. He is also a Director of GTZ-CEFE-CITESL (German Agency for Technical Cooperation – Competency based Economies through Formation of Enterprise – Center for Innovation Training and Entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka) which is dedicated to Entreprenuership Development.

Mr. Subramaniam is also the Executive Director of Outward Bound Trust-Sri Lanka which is an affiliate of Outward Bound International, Utah, USA> He has organized and conducted more than 500 Outward Bound Professional Development Training Programs for Corporate,  Government and NGO sectors for different target groups and facilitated debriefing and processing sessions.

Mrs. Dawn Austin

Director, Nidro Supply (Pvt) Ltd. Mrs. Austin, a pioneer in Sri Lankan export agribusiness has committed her own resources and those of her company, Nidro Supply Ltd, to provide institutional support for Rural Returns’ operations.

Mr. Edison Kumarage has extensive experience dealing with small-farmer “out-grower” networks for two major agribusiness conglomerates

Mr. S.N. De Silva is a former rice-mill owner experienced in post-harvest processing of rice.


Scientific Advisors

Deshamanya Dr. C.R. Panabokke

Dr. Christoper Rajendra Panabokke has a BSc (Honors) in Chemistry with Physics as a subsidiary subject, from the University of Ceylon. He gained a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Adelaide’s Waite Agricultural Research Institute, S. Australia, where is also placed “proxime accesserunt” for the Culross Prize for Scientific Research.

Dr. Panabokke has held many important positions both nationally and internationally. National positions include Director of Agriculture (now designated Director General); Director of Research – Department of Agriculture; Head, Land Use Division, Irrigation Department; Director, Mahaweli Development Board; Head of the Soil Survey of Ceylon, Departments of Agriculture and Irrigation; and Head, Dry Zone Research Institute, Maha Illuppalama. International posts include Senior Research Fellow at the International Service for National Agricultural Research at The Hague; Irrigation agronomist at the International Irrigation Management Institute (IIMI); and Senior Associate – IIMI – Sri Lanka Field Operations.

Dr. Panabokke serves as the Chancellor of the University of Sabragamuwa. Honors handed over by the President of the country include the National Science Council of Sri Lanka’s Award for Outstanding Research for 1981-9182; the first ever “Vidya Jyothi” title in 1986, the highest National Award for Scientists in Sri Lanka; and the title of “Deshamanya” conferred by the President in 1998.

Dr. Panabokke has been widely published with over 30 scientific papers in reputed international journals; has presented 35 scientific papers at international and national conferences and workshops, and is the sole author or co-author of several important scientific works.

Dr. Sarath Ilangantilake

Dr. Ilangantilake is a leading Sri Lankan agricultural scientist with extensive local and international experience, including teaching and research at the Asian Institute of Technology and at the International Potato Center in Peru, where he worked on the preservation and market development of Peru’s many heirloom potato varietals.

Dr. Nimal Dissanayake

Dr. Nimal Dissanayake is the Director of Sri Lanka’s Rice Research and Development Institute, the center for all rice-related research and development. Dr. W.M.W. Weerakoon is a Senior Agronomist at the same institution, from where he regularly corresponds with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Dr. W.M.W. Weerakoon
Senior Agronomist, Rice Research and Development Institute, Sri Lanka

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