June 23, Colombo: Jiffy Sri Lanka Manufacturing Plant in Kobeigane, Kurunegala celebrated the company's 15 years of operations in Sri Lanka recently.
Senior Management of the Company including the Chairman and Board Members of the Jiffy Group and the Management of the Sri Lankan subsidiary of the company, together with the staff of the company participated in the celebrations.
Mr. Ruwan Rajapakse, Managing Director of Jiffy Sri Lanka said that In 2003 Sri Lanka faced many problems and had a poor international image but a few brave men in Norway had the confidence to start a business in Sri Lanka.
"We are benefiting today from the vision. This is the time to reflect on all the great achievements that have taken place in the last 15 years," he said, welcoming the Board of Jiffy Norway who were here to celebrate the company's 15th Anniversary.
Mr Rajapakse added that approximately 10,000 jobs now depend on Jiffy both directly and indirectly. In addition the company contributes approximately Rs. 1.5 billion to the province, hence it has been a catalyst to development thanks to "Very good vision and Very good direction which has focused on building the quality of the products as well as diversified the range of products."
The Chairman of Jiffy, Mr. Bjørn Hendrik Rasmussen said Jiffy started operations in Sri Lanka with just 14 employees and currently has 200 permanent employees and another 800 temporary employees at the three facilities that the company has set up in Sri Lanka.
Currently the company is employing a total of 1,000 people in Sri Lanka in production as well as in the transport of the product. He added that about 10,000 people benefit as the results of the Jiffy Plant which has now emerged as the largest company in Sri Lanka engaged in the field of Horticulture.
Jiffy Products are exported to over 40 destinations worldwide. Among the products made by Jiffy in Sri Lanka are Jiffy - 7C pellets made of 100% Coco pith that are used for the propagation of bananas, papaya, grapes, roses, strawberry and Forestry.
Another product is the Jiffy Grow Block also used to grow Crops, which is enclosed in a degradable netting. The Jiffy Grow Bag uses Coco pith and husk chips for a broad range of crops such as tomato, pepper, cucumber and roses.
These products are now well known to all those interested in Horticulture. The focus of the Company is now on developing the highest quality human capital. It was the high quality of Sri Lanka's human capital that led to the company becoming a world leader and the Jiffy brand is now known worldwide.
Mr. Rasmussen stated that the Mother company is highly interested with the work done at Jiffy Sri Lanka and currently new products are being developed in Sri Lanka for the global market. He added that the high quality of the products in Sri Lanka is the reason why they are exported globally. This could only be done with very good human resources. Mr. Rasmussen added that the slogan of the company is "Let's grow together" and "It's all about roots".
CEO of Jiffy Group Dagfinn Andersen, speaking about the company's marketing strategy said the company had invested in Sri Lanka because Jiffy discovered that coir could be added for the manufacture of their products and this raw material of a high quality was found in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Andersen explained that company's success "was that the product made in Sri Lanka targeted some of the most discerning markets in the world. If those could be satisfied then that was enough proof that Jiffy products were made to the highest international standards.
For example Jiffy pellets first went to the Dutch market which was the most demanding in the world. Currently millions of these pellets are being sold to the Netherlands.
Grow bags made in Sri Lanka are sold to Canada which is also a very demanding market where the highest standards have to be met. Another major customer of Jiffy is B & Q of the United Kingdom. Here again the high quality of the products manufactured by Jiffy have made B & Q retailers of the company's products. Mr. Andersen stated that the company was therefore willing to meet any challenge it faced and was committed to be a leader in its field.
The Chief Guest of the event Mr. Dharmasiri Dassanayake Chief Minister of the North Western Province said that "two decades ago coir dust was a major environmental problem. By making pellets out of them has not only has led to a productive use of coir dust but also resulted in protecting the environment in the country. The Chief Minister added that Jiffy's CSR Programme had helped schools and temples and also contributed towards road development. He also praised some of the local staff for the dedication and contribution to the regional economy.
The Norwegian ambassador Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther also spoke on behalf of the company and stated that "Jiffy was a very important project because it has succeeded in creating jobs in rural areas of Sri Lanka outside Colombo which has benefited from much of the investment opportunities." The Ambassador also stated that "Jiffy has the highest confidence in its Sri Lanka operation. Success has been achieved as a result of hard work and commitment. These investments reflect the confidence that Norwegian companies have in Sri Lanka and I am positive that more Norwegian companies are expected in future to invest in the country."
Jiffy also organized a visit to the factory for staff and invitees and showcased some of their products as well as the modern system they have introduced to purify water used in the process of manufacture. To celebrate the 15th Anniversary, six trees were formally planted by the Chief Minister, Norwegian Ambassador and Jiffy Board members.