Company Name: JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
Company Description: Before considering the cultivation and processing of hemp in Sri Lanka, Richard Gunawardene and Eline Verheul had already established “Ceylon Hemp Effect (Pvt) Ltd.”; an ethical and sustainable brand that offers cold processed Hemp Milk and other green-label hemp produce, with the intention to expand with a hemp fashion and interior design line.
Initially the company looked solely into the import of hemp seeds, however, it were the hurdles during the establishment of the brand and products that led us to explore the opportunities of cultivating hemp in Sri Lanka itself and we discovered great potential.
Simultaneously, the ethical and sustainable concept behind our brand evolved, hence we decided on the name “Ceylon Hemp Effect” as our vision is to have a holistic and positive social, environmental, ethical and economical effect on our island and its people.
Whereas Eline is the think tank behind the brand, Richard being the Head of Strategic Planning at JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., has the entrepreneurial knowledge and expertise alongside a great local and international network, turning our vision into reality.
Together with the support and investment of the Managing Director of JAT Holdings, Mr. Aelian Gunawardene, we are establishing a new company that will solely focus on Hemp Farming and Processing under the name Ceylon Hemp Farms (Pvt) Ltd.
We will hereby submit the company description of JAT Holdings and attach our latest annual report for your kind reference
“Since our establishment in 1993, JAT Holdings has risen in corporate reputation, financial strength and brand recognition. Becoming one of the Top Strongest Conglomerate Brands in Sri Lanka in 2015, the company is now diversifying and expanding confidently, following best practices and earning credit for its green efforts. Holding proud, our portfolio of products and services, we endeavour to surpass expectations in customer service.
In 2016, JAT took further steps to reinforce its legacy with the announcement of a new corporate identity aimed at supporting the Company’s long-term growth strategy by increasing awareness and appealing to new markets, in line with JAT’s own broadened international reach. This re-branding is a representation of JAT’s successful and on-going transition well beyond its paints and coatings heritage into an integrated end-to-end solutions provider that utilizes design and construction to create and transform spaces in both domestic as well as corporate spheres.”
Country: Sri Lanka
Contact: Eline Verheul
Phone #: +94765513631
Ceylon Hemp Effect was born out of the absence of (locally produced) vegan milk with Sri Lanka indicating a population prevalence of lactase deficiency of 66.2 to 78.8%! The imported – highly processed – dairy alternatives reach prices up to 6 times more than regular dairy milk due to import taxes – this makes dairy alternatives unavailable for most of Sri Lanka’s population which is the local middle class with a spending power of US$ 2-10 a day.
Our milk derived from hemp seeds will be Sri Lanka’s first, commercially available and locally grown nutritious dairy alternative.
Ceylon Hemp Effect aims to go beyond offering just wholesome nutrition. Our goal is to be a lifestyle brand that brings holistic well-being, art, design and fashion together. We celebrate life, empower our rural communities and are kind to our Island’s Nature. Through Ceylon Hemp Effect, we will market and educate on the environmental and sustainable advantages and usages of Hemp.
Opportunities in Sri Lanka
Whereas Sri Lanka is already growing Cannabis for medical purposes as an Ayurvedic drug as well as for export, the cultivation of hemp is just being introduced to the island and the potential is great for both domestic and export markets.
Sri Lanka is a fertile tropical land (incl. wet zones, dry zones and a cool climate in the highlands) with the potential for the cultivation and processing of a variety of crops. Agriculture has been an important driver of poverty, however, with rice self-sufficiency secured, a consensus has recently emerged within the Sri Lankan government that the country should capitalize more strategically on the opportunity to diversify the production structure out of the relatively low value food crops and move towards high-value agriculture and promote agriculture exports. This structural shift is critical to sustaining income growth going into the future, accelerating poverty reduction and reversing the trend in increasing inequality.
In the north and east of Sri Lanka, there is significant scope for agriculture expansion and productivity growth – both through traditional and non-traditional agriculture – as productivity remains low, markets and value addition activities remain undeveloped and the potential for niche commodities remains significant for domestic and export markets. We are convinced that one of these niche commodities will be industrial hemp and through our parent companies network we have a broad reach to free hold and leased land from the Government across the Island. We will be investing in agricultural expansion through the cultivation and processing of hemp seed, hemp fiber and are also considering CBD with the right partner on board.
Empowerment of Rural Farmers
Besides having our own farms we see great potential in setting up a hemp grower’s initiative that will expand the scale of our production and simultaneously empower rural farmers and focus on their livelihood improvement and the rural economic and infrastructure development. Ceylon Hemp Farms will both sow and reap the harvest itself in return for a fixed price per hectare and invest in educating the farmers.
From 1990 – 2005, it was estimated that Sri Lanka’s deforestation rate of primary forests was one of the highest in the world. In that period alone, the country lost more than 35% of its old-growth forest cover. Conservation International estimates that only around 1.5% of the island’s original forest remains. According to environmentalists our existing forest cover is well below 18% of the country’s total land area.
To help combat this serious environmental issue, our focus should be to eliminate further deforestation to replace the need of wood fibers by hemp fibers. One of JAT Holding’s core businesses is in the wood industry (we are the largest distributor in the world for Sherwin Williams wood coatings) We do not only supply heavily into the construction industry but also have our property development arm which works very closely with all construction related companies here. This will give us a strong edge in changing the game locally, in educating and the subsequent use of hemp related products for the construction industry.
Sri Lanka imports approximately USD $208 million of cotton (raw cotton, yarn, and fabric) annually. Imports of cotton, yarn and fabric from the United States were about USD $1.5 million in 2018. U.S. cotton suppliers have substantial opportunities to supply to Sri Lanka’s export-orientated apparel sector.
Employing a labor force of over 500,000 and contributing over $ 5 billion to GDP, the apparel industry is one of the largest contributors to the growth of the Sri Lankan economy. Despite increasing competition and a rapidly-evolving global marketplace for apparel, the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) remains bullish on the continued growth potential of the industry. Sri Lanka has built its competitive edge on value-addition rather than cheap production cost, with greater emphasis on product quality and its ability to manufacture niche products.
With close tie ups with the 3 largest apparel companies in the country, MAS, Brandix and Hidramani Group, we would see great potential in (re-)introducing hemp fabric and therewith contribute towards growth potential of Sri Lanka’s Apparel Industry.
In the current absence of established competition in Sri Lanka, our end goal is to become the largest supplier of processed hemp produce to our local industries, whilst working towards supplying raw and processed hemp goods across the entire value chain of Hemp Globally.
In summary, our areas of focus would be:
- Hemp Seed for food and beverages
- Hemp fiber as a sustainable alternative for wood fiber.
- Supply of Hemp Fiber to Apparel Industry
- Empowerment of rural communities through Hemp farming
- JV with foreign party to farm Hemp for CBD (export)
Founder and Managing Director JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd.
As the founder of the Company, Aelian Gunawardene has been the focal asset of the company, pioneering new innovations and steering JAT towards unchartered terrain, while increasing market share and helping build unequivocal brand equity. Aelian holds a Diploma in Marketing Management from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is one of Sri Lanka’s most respected corporate leaders, bringing more than 25 years of leadership experience and strategic expertise to the Board. He was recognized as Sri Lanka’s Top Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.
– Chief Executive Officer JAT Property Group (Pvt) Ltd
– Head of Strategic Planning JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd
A marketing professional with multi-faceted experience within and outside the JAT Group, Richard brings a youthful dynamism to the organization and has contributed towards fostering an agile and innovation-driven culture.
Commencing his career at JAT as a marketing executive, Richard rapidly rose through the ranks to the position of Head of Marketing – a role he held for the last 2 years. He has been instrumental in the Group’s success in Sri Lanka and overseas, leveraging on his marketing expertise in foreign regions.
2 years into his life in the company, Richard started the property development sector in the company and in just 3 years has delivered 2 apartment towers and is current working on 2 housing projects in central Sri Lanka and 1 mixed development in the Capital of Sri Lanka. Taking on the role of heading the companies strategy for the future in April 2019, the opportunities been presented are bountiful.
Richard holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Curtin University, Western Australia.
Other current appointments
– Director for Flexospan Steel Building (Pvt) Ltd and Co – Founder of Ceylon Hemp Effect (Pvt) Ltd
– As a founding member of EO Sri Lanka (Entrepreneurs Organization) he currently holds a board seat as the Integration Chair.
– Co-founder Ceylon Hemp Effect
– Creative Consultant
– Fine Artist
Having been engaged in social empowerment programs globally since 2006, Eline came to Sri Lanka early 2014 as a project coordinator for international internships. She saw great potential to implement her creative skills for start-ups in Sri Lanka and continued her career as a creative consult.
In more recent years Eline developed a strong interest for the green-label beverage industry and is currently engaged in an initiative to introduce High Pressure Processing to the island.
Eline has extensive experience in business development, sales and marketing and holds a bachelor degree of fine arts and design in education from the HKU Art University in Utrecht – The Netherlands
Investment Level: $500,000 to $1 million