MA’s is not only dedicated to producing quality products but also to the sustainability of the environment and the betterment of the community they work with. The company is deeply committed to the principles of Fair Trade and is uncompromising in its responsibilities to the community.
MA’S believes in sustainable development to ensure a sustainable future. A combination of activities focusing on the economy, environment and the community are core parts of the company’s synergistic approach to development. MA’s is dedicated to address these areas and take food processing in Sri Lanka to a higher level of exceptional corporate, social and environmental governance.
MA’s was founded on strong fair-trade principles with the belief that business practices and operations should be fair for all - employees, farmers and the community.
As the business developed, these ethics were maintained and supported with formalised fair-trade certification.
The company helped their supplier farmers form SAFE-NET (Sustainable Agri-Farm Enterprisers Network) an independent fair trade certified farmer association and helped formalise the group as a company limited by guarantee to maximise transparency and encourage entrepreneurship. The company fully supports the activities of SAFE- NET assisting in knowledge transfer and capacity building as well as administrative support.
MA’s aims to provide a home away from home for their employees with accommodation available for all workers at the factories. Where both husband and wife are employed (many actually met while working with the company) married quarters available for their families.
All meals are provided by the company’s own canteens at the factories and at non-factory sites, lunch is provided for all staff.
MA’s offers a range of employee welfare support in the following areas:
Financial support –financial assistance to support home improvement, children’s education or other family welfare related areas. Loans are granted to employees with the discretion of management and on the employee’s earning ability.
All employees receive school books for their children to encourage educational development.
Maternity Support – To encourage females to return to work after having a baby, MA’s offers a special allowance to assist in and support during and after pregnancy. This incorporates a carer allowance available to factory workers residing on site. This allowance is designed to help with child care which is a huge barrier to mothers returning to work.
MA’s is an equal opportunity workplace. Sri Lanka has a history of disharmony amongst ethnic groups and MA’s Kitchen strongly believes race, ethnicity or religion are irrelevant in the employment selection process.
MA’s Kitchen employees differentially abled persons in various positions in the company. Meet Lalith (pictured to the right), he has been a loyal and dedicated employee for over 20 years. Although Lalith is blind, his contribution is valued and has this allowed him to a have a full-time job and support his family in a country where disability is a huge barrier to employment.
Not long after the civil war ended, MA’s felt it was their civic duty to extend their industrial knowledge and scope to support the Northern areas of Sri Lanka. These areas had severely disrupted economic systems and MA’s believed by establishing formalised manufacturing, with focus on strengthening supply chains in the area, the economic balance could be restored much faster and people’s lives could return to a new normal.
MA’s began this project with a small-scale dairy processing project in Kilinochchi. After working in the area for 5 years MA’s expanded their operations with a newly built multi-purpose manufacturing facility in Iyakachi which further focused on expanding their direct farmer network. The new factory is based on a circular economy model which matches perfectly with company’s business beliefs and future business plans.
The factory has already began producing flavoured milk products, oils and peanut butter using milk, sesame and peanuts purchased directly from small scale famers. The company is continuing to set up fully traceable supply chains and create product value addition to supply local and export markets and wherever possible, organic certified.
Fostering good learning is essential in the sustainable development of the country. The children of the community are the leaders of tomorrow and education should be encouraged to ensure the best opportunities. MA’S provides school stationary to all children of emploies and members of our farmer network.
MA’s has their own agricultural extension team which works predominately in the Matale district with spice farmers and in the South with coconut farmers. Most of the work the extension team undertakes focuses on establishing sustainable agricultural practices and strengthening fair trade and organic processes. The team also offers a variety of services directly to farmers which include help with obtaining small business loans, assisting with documentation related to converting to organic certification and providing agricultural pest and agronomic assistance.
UN Food Systems Best Small business award goes to Northern project by MA’S Kitchen
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