The primary goal of Ashley Exports (Ceylon Organic Spice Exports) is to improve the economic status of small scale Sri Lankan spice farmers. We hope to achieve this by engaging in alternative trade with them. We purchase the spices from our farmers at a price that is 50% higher than the prevailing market value. Our spice packaging center provides employment for economically disadvantaged women. Their wages too are, at the minimum, 40% higher than their current earning capacity based on their marketable skills.
In our small business we are committed to economic justice and fair employment.
This is primarily reflected in the prices we pay our producers and in the wage we pay our packaging center employees. A common savings found is in place for the employees. The group use this fund during an emergency, such as sudden illness or death, or weather related home repairs. This fund is managed by the family groups.
The working environment in our organization is the packaging center. We have built it to be airy and well ventilated. The workers wear dust masks and gloves while packaging the spices to prevent the nose and skin irritation. The workers are provided with two tea breaks each day.
We employ economically disadvantaged women in our packing center. This job opportunity for these women are very low. By working for us they are able to earn a good wage to improve their economic status. We do not employ any children under any circumstances.
We hire government agricultural officers to educate the farmer/producers in soil conservation, organic farming methods and composting. The prices and wages that we pay are informally organized. Usually the local market price of produce varies according to the availability of the spices. The spice group leader determines the market price. Since the group leader is also a farmer/producer, this system ensures that a fair price is determined for the produce. Ashley Exports (now Ceylon Organic Spice Exports) also pays the producer a cash advance of 50% for the produce to aid the farmer and to assure our supply of products.
We deal with farmer family groups, we also focus on improving their social status. We encourage and assist in their children’s education by providing books, school uniforms, etc.