Thursday, November 27, 2008

Four years since my arrival in Sri Lanka on Nov 29. 2004

My enterprise, now directly feeds 35 people when one includes, spouses and dependents, and in this period there have been a natural increase of 6 due to marriages and births. That is all I can claim as my contribution as well as the fact that I produce food that contributes something to the nation’s hunger and thirst. Personally, except for the pride in the job, there has been absolutely no financial benefit, despite an incredible amount of sacrifice on my part to this venture. I never for a moment thought it would be this bad.

I will leave to a separate section, all the observations I have made during this period as well as the lessons I have learned about human behavior and the illogical thought processes that lead to such actions, all adding to low productivity and high costs of production.

This past year has been the toughest of the four as like Murphy’s law, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. The whole year has been one of surviving day to day, living and running the whole enterprise on a meager cash flow. While the year began on an optimistic note as seen in an earlier blog entry at the new year it just went from bad to worse, with the weather being the largest contributory factor, but others such as loss of crop to animals and pests of all sorts, deaths of good milking cows, and unexpected repairs and expenses, with the final straw being a ridiculous demand for backdated social security claim for non deduction of payroll taxes in prior years.

I wish I can say there is a silver lining, but at the moment I cannot foresee one with things expected to get worse before it gets better and the hope for better weather conditions, being my only hope, where a extremely wet year can be followed by a very dry one. Having given up any hope of being able to get more out of the employees I have, I have a very limited hand of cards to play with, and the trick will be to play poker and bluff my way through to get the better of them without them knowing it.

I am struggling four years on with the same original problem, namely with a lack of supply, when I still have the demand. My only option to plug this gap is to outsource supply, and try and find funds to provide working capital to finance this, while cutting down on the staff subtly to reduce the heavy cost of employment. Piece-work may be an avenue to follow and contract out the work. Finally I will have to supplement my income to stay alive.


american cambodia blogger said...

How will you supplement your income? Please update more often with more pics (like from our trip!)

Good luck!

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