Sri Lanka’s largest certified organic exporter of ethically sourced products joins our platform
SL@100 is proud to have onboarded Saaraketha Organics to its list of portfolio companies. Saaraketha was among the 7 chosen candidates out of the 37 applicants that applied to join our platform in September 2020. As part of our platform’s ambition to support mid-sized companies, we intend to offer business advisory solutions to Saaraketha and its team – by conducting strategy audits to identify gaps in business processes and leveraging expertise to recommend solutions that would unlock further potential for growth.
Organic and Ethical; Export and Local: Saaraketha Organics is a home-grown enterprise founded by former MAS Holdings’ executive Prasanna Hettiarachchi together with his wife Charitha Hettiarachchi. Saaraketha was an export-focused business when it began in 2008, but since 2013 it has been made available to the local market. The initiative, which was originally a fresh produce company, has since expanded to spices, grains, pulses, sweeteners, and other ingredients that constitute a healthy diet. They employ an ecommerce platform to provide access to their services and are both export and home delivery focused. Today, they are a renowned brand for high-quality organic produce in Sri Lanka. Saaraketha invests and engages in driving traceability and product compliance. Organic produce sourced from around the country is transported daily to its pack house in Kaduwela, where 50 staff working in two shifts sort, grade, clean and pack ~500-600 kilograms of produce daily. From here, packaged products are transported to the airport for shipment or to local stores. Exports from Saaraketha are certified by US organic certifications.
Transforming Lives: Saaraketha was founded with the vision of bringing customers the best organic produce by empowering local, small-holder farms. Traditionally, farming is not approached as a business, but more a subsistence occupation. The vision of Prasanna is to transition the role of a farmer from a subsistence-based occupation to more of an agri-entrepreneur, and ultimately transform rural lives. Today, Saaraketha is Sri Lanka’s largest certified organic exporter of ethically sourced products to multiple destinations around the Globe.
“Over the past years we have empowered farmers to improve their lives, by bringing them together with people that invest in real, farm fresh food without toxins. With a little additional support from us, farmers can take control of their destiny, working with passionate and committed people to make a brighter future.” — Founder and MD, Prasanna Hettiarachchi.
Diverse product range: Saaraketha Organics constantly introduces a range of value-added products and its latest additions include the heirloom rice flours; kaluheenati, suwandel, pachchaperumal and kuruluthuda, and heirloom rice flours breads; kaluheenati and suwandel, the first ever products in Sri Lanka to be 100-percent gluten and wheat free.
Environmentally Conscious, hence Sustainable: Not only a first for Sri Lanka but a first for the entire region, the new Saaraketha Zero Carbon Smart Greenhouse project in Anuradhapura has a production capability of half a million square feet of a controlled environment, entirely solar-powered and completely carbon neutral. Projected to carry over 60 varieties of vegetables, greens and herbs, the Saaraketha Smart Greenhouse Project will be able to deliver stable crops all year round, ensuring a consistent income for the farmers and fixed prices for the customers. The Company also switched from conventional MAP packaging materials to a hundred percent compostable sugarcane bagasse tray packaging.
On the Forefront of Technology: Moreover, to ensure traceability and transparency, the Company launched their plant to plate tracing technology in 2019. The blockchain enabled traceability platform “Tracified” enables Saaraketha and its customers to track the social, environmental and economic impact of each product purchased. With a scan of a QR code on a Saaraketha product pack, you can trace back where your product came from, who grew it and how your purchase is supporting the farmers that grow your food, providing transparency across the value-chain; a real “farm to table” experience.
Partnerships boost Technology: Saaraketha works with ~ 2,500 carefully chosen rural smallholder farmers from communities around the country that have been certified as organic (with Control Union certification). Moreover, technology played a big role in ensuring the organic nature of their produce. The Ritsumeikan University of Japan provided them with a weather station to get real time data on rainfall, humidity and temperature and even the sap flow of a tree. A technology known as GigaPan in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University enabled them to photograph in minute detail the farming area, so whenever a problem arose, they could send the images to foreign consultants who would be able to identify it and provide solutions. GPS technology was used to oversee the terrain.
SL@100 is confident that its collaboration with Saaraketha can create a profound impact to the people it serves.