Messages

Message from the President - SLIM

It is with great privilege that I pen down a message for the 3rd edition of SLIM Gamata Marketing project organized by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, the national level CSR project of the country.

As the National body of Marketing in Sri Lanka, it’s our responsibility to spread the word of Marketing to all corners of the Island and to every industry. Without the use of proper Marketing, no industry can survive in this ever dynamic market place. After commencing the journey by supporting the cane industry in Wewaldeniya, which we launched on “Refined Cane” project in 2012, then to uplift the Bamboo industry in Kuruwita, the “Una” project was launched in 2013. In 2014, SLIM supported the Talipot (Thala) industry in Dambadeniya which was completed by the University of Moratuwa and all these projects were done in collaboration with the Integrated Design Faculty of University of Moratuwa.

Based on a request made by the by the University of Ruhuna SLIM joined hands with them to support the fishing industry in Matara by implementing the project of “Fish Bonanza” in 2015. For this project, University of Ruhuna identified 35 families who showed interest to explore more opportunities in the fishing industry by developing new fish based products. SLIM & University of Ruhuna have conducted a series of workshops related to new product development and application of marketing principles to uplift their aspiration to be an entrepreneur in the fishing industry.

A final event will be held in Matara to showcase their efforts on this journey & I would like to invite you to join hands with SLIM as a sponsor to accomplish this project with a great success by supporting them.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the project chairman Suranjith Swaris and the organizing committee for organizing the 3rd edition of Gamata Marketing, Fish Bonanza. I I also wish to appreciate the staff at the SLIM Business School in Matara, who are part of the project team and for their great support.


Message from the Project Chairman

It is my sincere pleasure and honor to share a few words on this project, which facilitates to promote the marketing philosophy amongst SMEs, rural enterprises and entrepreneurs. I am happy to be a part of this wonderful project for the 3rd year in succession since its inception.

Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing being the national body for marketing, our vision is to lead the nation’s efforts towards economic prosperity by promoting Marketing as the driving force, which enhances business and national value.

Marketing has become a key component in all businesses, hence as the National Body for Marketing, we realized the lack of marketing acumen in Rural Industries without which such industries are at the danger level of being extinct. That motivated us to commence a project of this nature three years ago. Therefore a novel project was designed to uplift the livelihoods of cane manufacturers in Radawadunne, together with the Department of integrated Design, Faculty of Architecture - University of Moratuwa in the year 2012 as “Refined Cane” under the direction of Past President Mr Thushara Perara. This inaugural project focused on developing new concepts/designs by the students of University of Moratuwa for which SLIM provided the marketing expertise to promote the cane craft industry and have a sustainable business. The objective of this collaboration was to support the University students to improve their marketing knowledge to create/design products which are in line with the demands of the evolving market and to boost the cane industry. Thereafter, this initiative took the Bamboo Industy in Kuruwita & Yatiyanatota under its wings in 2013, it was presented as “Una”. In year 2014, SLIM embarked on the “Thala” project.

With the request made by the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Ruhuna, “Fish Bonanza” project was initiated this year to support the Fishing Industry in Matara. The objective is to make the regional SMEs aware of marketing principles and its applications to deploy business strategies and tools for effective targeting of customer segments which helps to focus on delivering more specific products and services which satisfy the segments better than its competitors. In this regard, we have conducted a series of workshops & training programs for the fishing families who were aiming to uplift entrepreneurial skills with product innovations to pursue new heights in the fisheries industry in Matara.

This project is supported by the Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna; Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences & Technology, University of Ruhuna; Hotel school in Matara and Institute for Development of Community Strengths (INDECOS).

I will fail in my duties if I do not thank the wonderful support extended by the President of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Mr Ruwan Liyanagamage, the Executive Committee, my resourceful organizing committee and the Events Division of SLIM for their efforts in making this project a success.


Message from the Vice Chancellor

Professor Gamini Senanayake, Vice Chancellor, University of Ruhuna

Being an island, ocean around the country is an invaluable resource to Sri Lanka, which produces countless opportunities to develop economy of the country. Among those, fisheries industry which provides fish production to the economy is a key benefit, where it contributes to the social and economical development in many aspects. Unfortunately the contribution of fisheries industry is frequently underestimated, may be because most fishers are small-scale fishers operating on coastal and swallow water fisheries. When we consider the post harvest sector of fisheries such as handling and processing, women make up half of those employed.

The contribution of the fisheries industry to the economy is nearly 2% of GDP. Therefore, entrepreneurs engaged in fisheries industry play a critical role in providing valuable contribution to the value addition to the fish harvest. Out of the major districts that bring largest fish harvest, Matara district accounts for over 15% of fish production.

When it comes to the market place, it is an essential requirement to add value to their products as to cater the rapidly changing customer needs and sustain among huge competition in the market place. Hence, the value addition to the production is a real challenge faced by the entrepreneurs of the industry. As a university, it is our responsibility to disseminate the knowledge and the experience among the real players in the sector.

I see these kinds of activities are as effective efforts where the theories we tested in the laboratories come in to practice in the field. I am happy to mention that the University of Ruhuna is the only university in Sri Lanka which owns a Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences & Technology, where the academics and undergraduates will be able to contribute to the knowledge enhancement in this sector in many ways. Also I need to appreciate the initiative taken by the Faculty of Management and Finance to encourage the industry people through their academic experiences. I thoroughly believe the knowledge and the experiences we share through this activity will helpful for both parties, for more productive output and at the same time take this opportunity to congratulate all of you who contributed to make this effort a success.


Message from the Dean of the Faculty of Management and Finance

Professor H.S.C. Perera, Dean, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Ruhuna

It is with great pleasure I send this message to the fish bonanza 2015. Universities in the world develop their status as entrepreneurial universities for the purpose of developing entrepreneurs to the nation. It is important to communicate people that Universities should not limit their duties and responsibilities to the teaching and research. They must enhance their capacity and engage in these types of activities as an important element of corporate social responsibility. The environment is not what it used to be. As it changes rapidly, to survive in this changing environment fishing community should be able to cope up with new trends, especially coming up with innovative ideas, and product features are required as it creates value for the customers. As long as they continue what they have been doing so far, it impedes their progress. Hence, innovations are the way to win the heart of the consumer. It does not mean that they are required to do something new, merely adding an extra feature can work well. In this context, value additions of fish products would play an important role in satisfying customers’ needs and wants while attracting various sorts of new customers who seek the varieties. In spite of the increasing recognition of entrepreneurship as a source of job creation, empowerment and economic dynamism in a rapidly globalizing world, still there has been a lack of systematic attempt to spur innovations among them. However, as of today, majority of the Universities in the world develop their status as entrepreneurial universities for the purpose of developing entrepreneurs to the nation and boosting abilities of the entrepreneurs. It is important to communicate that Universities should not limit their duties and responsibilities to the teaching and research. They should capitalize on their capacity and engage in these types of activities as an important element of corporate social responsibility. Finally, I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all who are giving of themselves to facilitate the successes of this event. I wish this event achieve success.


Message from the Head of the Department of Marketing

A.C.Karunaratne, Head of the Department of Marketing, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Ruhuna

Entrepreneurs, as the backbone of the economy, play a major role in boosting the development of any country. They introduce novel products to the society that satisfy needs and wants of people. The entrepreneurial focus is well-acknowledged in the marketing perspective since entrepreneurs engage in adding new flavor to their products and improving the quality of the products in order to fulfill customer requirements. It is noticeable that many entrepreneurs engaged in small and medium scale businesses lack marketing knowledge and skills. Therefore, they are not capable enough to use sound marketing strategies to win their customers and satisfy their needs and wants. Current Sri Lankan business context has become extremely competitive while expectations of consumers are becoming more complicated than ever. As their expectations change at every minute, they tend to choose new products, designs and benefits which will eventually make their purchases worthwhile.

Since Sri Lanka is surrounded by the sea, fish could be found in abundance. Even though fish harvest is rich in the Southern part of the country, the fishing community does not indicate reasonable economic prosperity. The fishing community uses traditional technology and systems in harvesting and processing fish, and they pay less attention on adding value to their products. The majority of Sri Lankans prefer consuming fish. They also prefer fish due to high nutrients. Although many people prefer consuming fish, the level of consumption still remains at a primary stage. The fish bought from either the harbour or a supermarket gets prepared into a traditional fish curry. Yet there is a huge demand for the value additions of fish products among the customers.

I am extremely happy to become a major counterpart of this project. It is our responsibility to uplift the economic and socio-cultural standards of the entrepreneurs operating in the small scale. I wish we could play a remarkable role as our major duty of the University is addressing the current needs of the country. Therefore, I firmly believe that those selected entrepreneurs will utilize this training fruitfully. Thus, this project would be a great opportunity for them to develop their products, as the means of introducing different types of value additions to the fish to cater different customer needs, and sharpen their marketing knowledge and skills which will be essential in fulfilling customer requirements profitably. As a result, they would be able to strengthen their capacity and upgrade the industry. I wish them all the success and expect some of them would become national as well as international entrepreneurs in the future.


Message of the head of the department, Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna

The fisheries sector plays an important role in food consumption, nutrition, employment and export. Being surrounded by the sea, daily protein requirement of the Sri Lankan community is largely fulfilled by the fisheries industry. In Sri Lanka, Marine fishing households consisted of nearly 200,000 in 2013; however the general recognition for this energetic community is minimal. With this message I would highlight fishermen as nation building conquerors who should be honored by the whole community.

The fishing communities in Sri Lanka are currently experiencing difficult situations mainly due to lack of proper technology for processing, value addition and marketing. Depending on the scale of production they practice, the living standards among the fishers is differentially distributed. However the general view of the fishers is regarded as they all on the same level, having neither the possibility nor the capacity of improving their position.

The local fishing industry of course is rich in traditional ways for preservation and processing. However due to lack of their exposure to the modern world, fishing industry is becoming isolated and less profitable. Meantime, the fish and fish product market is captured by imported ventures. The income from fishing is different not only in accordance with the types of fishing practices but also with the variations in fishing seasons. The seasonality cause changes in the yields of fishing and income of the fishers. Introducing the improved technology for proper handling, post harvesting, preservation and processing of fish they harvested, the integration of marketing knowledge will definitely fill the gap for their economic sustainability.

I personally believe that the emerging demands for consumer goods will be satisfied with an introduction of export-oriented fisheries and it will be creating wider opportunities to produce for the market rather than for subsistence. It’s my recent understanding that with the help of various NGOs, Agencies, and educational institutes such as SLIM, and university of Ruhuna, the traditional subculture of the fishing communities seems to have tended to break down the sociological shell they have been covered for years. Our joint endeavor will not be ended with this event but will continue to the national level sustainability. As a counterpart of this event I wish all the success for the organizers.


Message from the Director of Institute for Development of Community Strengths (INDECOS)

It is with great pleasure that I am writing this message for the event of Fish Bonanza to be held in Matara.

We as a local non-governmental organization have been serving the community for the last 20 years in the District. Among our interventions, building the capacity of micro entrepreneurs has been a very important component of our scope of work.

Under the project of “Empowerment of Vulnerable Women in Sri Lanka” Funded By European Commission and implemented by Save the Children International with the partnership INDECOS have been able to develop the capacity of women entrepreneurs to a greater extent. I’m personally very happy for the innovative approaches taken such as introducing new products to the market under this project

This innovative products made of fish will attract many customers, as tourism is growing fast, they will have many market opportunities.

At this moment my sincere thanks should go to the Faculty of Marketing and Finance, Faculty of Agriculture of University of Ruhuna for their technical support to make this event a success.

At the same time I have to extend my gratitude to the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing for the innovative approach taken to uplift the SME sector. Lack of appropriate marketing strategies is definitely a barrier for our women entrepreneurs

In this scenario, SLIM has taken an initiative by introducing the concept called “Gamata Marketing”. Their intervention is the need of the hour. Adding value to the products. Earlier our entrepreneurs just sold their raw products. But because of this training, they will be able to add value to their products and sell at a better price.