Rural Returns' Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. C.R. Panabokke, a pioneer and leader in the fields of Soil Science, Agriclulture and Irrigation, was recently profiled in the Sri Lankan media
Rural Returns' Sri Lankan heirloom red rice featured in the World Fair Trade Day celebrations at the GrassRoots Fair Trade Store in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rural Returns is a candidate for the Ashoka Changemakers.net competition "Leveraging Business For Social Change: Building The Field Of Social Business."
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Rural Returns closed its first sale with Essential Living Foods (http://www.essentiallivingfoods.com/) of Santa Monica, California on June 5th, 2010.
DC Jayasundera, CEO of Rural Returns Development Organization, negotiated the sale with Mr. Kipp Stroden of Essential Living Foods. The sale constitutes 500lbs of Rural Returns' first shipment of Pachchaperumal Sri Lankan Heirloom Red Rice.
Rural Returns completed its first trial shipment of Sri Lankan Heirloom Rice with the arrival of 660Kg of Pachchaperumal red rice in the Port of Los Angeles on June 2nd, 2010. This completed a process that began with Managing Director of Rural Returns (Guarantee) Limited, Sri Lanka, Chari Ratwatte, bringing 20Kg along with his luggage while visiting the U.S. on business in late April 2010.
The entires process involved with this first shipment - a "large sample" at a total of 730Kg - was a strategic effort to run through the complete value chain from the farm to the store shelf. As expected, we encountered challenges and delays despite the most rigorous efforts in preparation and planning. The 730Kg shipment of retail-ready 1Kg packets was broken up into 20Kg by air in personal luggage; 50Kg by air freight; and 660Kg by ocean freight. This diversified strategy helped Rural Returns have some packets on hand for immediate business development needs, while also testing out the two main shipping methods likely to be used for future commercial shipment.
Ratwatte and DC Jayasundera, CEO of the new Rural Returns Development Organization, U.S.A., coordinated closely throughout the process. Jayasundera handled all U.S. documentation and clearances while Ratwatte did the same in Sri Lanka, apart from coordinating with the Muruthenge Organic Small Farmers' Association, the partner community involved in the cultivation, milling and packaging of this first shipment.
Many more wellwishers supported Rural Returns in the effort as well, including Chairman, J. Charitha Ratwatte Snr. and the wonderful staff at the Sri Lanka Business Development Council.
Rural Returns founding Board member Mr. J.D. Bandaranayake assumed duties on 12th May 2010 as the Chairman and Director-General of Sri Lanka's Board of Investments, the apex organization tasked with attracting and facilitating investments in Sri Lanka http://www.boi.lk/2009/topstory.asp?NewsID=3870&CatID=1
Rural Returns came out the Angels' favorite by a sizable margin at Social Enterprise Angels Forum at Social Enterprise Summit 2010. Comments included that we are in exactly the right segment - one set to grow rapidly, in which a judge had just invested in real life.
Business Wire article on Social Innovation Fellowship award - click here
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