Who We Are
A lot of people ask me and Nihal how two economic development practitioners morphed into natural beverage entrepreneurs. For us, it is an opportunity to put into practice all the advice that we have delivered and lessons we have learned through our work over our combined 35+ years in the field.
When Nihal and I met, I had just started working in development – a job that I fell into after grad school, never having step foot outside of the industrialized world. From that fateful first assignment that placed Nihal and I on the same consulting team for a project in South Africa. I had no idea that my life was about to take a turn. Since then, Nihal and I have had the good fortune to work with farmers, small enterprises, and entrepreneurs, as well as their host governments, in more than 30 developing countries on every continent – we have internalized their stories, their struggles, their dreams. I have notebooks upon notebooks, both on my shelf and in my memory, filled with their stories, their business plans and the obstacles they face.
The 80-year old farmer in East Africa who is helping his fellow farmers by offering basic machinery and technology to improve their productivity. The woman-owned IT company in the Middle East, whose start-up company is now a multinational player in digital animation and immersive technologies. The women’s cooperative in West Africa that feeds their families with income earned from harvesting and processing Fair Trade shea butter for the international market. We have walked their farms and factory floors. We have sat in their board rooms.
One thing that they all have in common is their passion – their passion to make a better product, to export into new markets, to create jobs, to improve the livelihoods of their families and communities, to make a difference. And their passion is infectious. Our passion, for sustainable economic development, is in Sri Lanka Gold’s genes.
More than ever before, farmers and private enterprises from across the globe have the opportunity to bring their products and services to homes and businesses on every continent. We consume the fruits of their labor, both literally and figuratively, every day. But the challenges are often overwhelming, limiting success to those in the right place at the right time. Our dream for Sri Lanka Gold is to grow a business model that creates a competitive brand and financial returns for our company and its partners, while creating sustainable market opportunities for our farmers and improved welfare for their families and communities. For us, this means going beyond the Fair Trade price premiums to putting in practice our decades of lessons learned to empower our farmers and their communities. It means enabling access to inputs and technologies that can increase their yields, meet demanding international standards, and deliver financial returns. It means bringing innovative finance solutions to enable them to invest in their own farms as businesses. It means supporting the needs of our farmer families and their communities to improve educational and health outcomes.
Our mission is not just to make the best tasting coconut water in the world, our mission is to make a difference.