My mum gave me some dark rice once which was kinda odd but quite good. J. Charitha Ratwatte lives nearby and she’d gotten this ‘heirloom’ variety from his company, Rural Returns. They’re helping Sri Lankan farmers grow higher value strains and market them here and abroad, which is a good idea. They’re now starting a local brand, Ayu Rice, which should be available at Keells soon.
‘Organic’ food is a growing market in the west. There are moves towards locally grown food, ethically grown food, and generally food that isn’t bad for you or the environment. It’ll take ages for Sri Lanka to compete with commodity rice (I don’t think we really can), but small farmers can produce specialty rice if A) they knew how and B) they could market it abroad.
Hence, Rural Returns. Charitha founded this company to both assist in the production and marketing of specialty rice, enabling more farmers to make a better, more secure living. It’s a great idea, and it’s pretty good rice as well.
They’ll be launching the Ayu Rice brand at the BMICH grounds on August 26-28th, 10am to 8pm. They’ll be in Stall 24 in the AgBiz section, where I think you can get discounted samples.