Date: 11-01-2013

Speech by Prasanna Hettiarachchi President of Slow Food Colombo at the International Congress of Slow Food in Turin, Italy on the 28th of October 2012

“Revival of authentic heirloom rice varieties by strengthening the triangle of life.”

 

 

Ayubowan!

Background

I am humbled by the opportunity to address the International congress; having listened to the many stories from so many other colleagues at this forum I am acutely aware that our journey in Sri Lanka has only begun. So it is with deep humility that I wish to share both my personal journey as an individual and our collective efforts through the Slow Food convivium in Sri Lanka to bring about a new approach to agriculture in Sri Lanka.

From a personal perspective my entry into the agriculture sector was purely by accident. Working in a Billion dollar corporate in the fashion industry, making bras and panties for Victoria’s Secret for over 15 years, I realized that my experiences in the apparel industry had the potential to add value and transform the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka, while re infusing dignity to the vocation of farming. Just to give you context the apparel sector of Sri Lanka transformed itself over the last twenty years from being a collection of sweat shops to evolve to be a ‘global one stop shop’, from being contract manufacturers who sold cheap labor, to complete solutions providers that is reputed to have the highest standards of compliance in the world. I was fortunate to be a part of the team which consisted of industry leaders that strategized the transformation and implemented it. Today Sri Lanka is consciously no longer cheap, but  is considered as the world’s No. 01 destination for sourcing ethically produced apparel, and we are known for our tagline, ‘garments without guilt’ which top end fashion names wish to have printed alongside their label. Today we have the world’s first ever Leeds certified green apparel manufacturing plants and so many unique stories of success where most definitely we set the trend for the global industry. My vision and aspiration was to leverage the experiences and the lessons learnt during this transformation and ...  Read more

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