The Story of Kithul
Ayubowan! Throughout generations of Sri Lankan agriculture, we have discovered some truly nutritious and wholesome flavours.
Many of the herbal and organic varieties of what we grow locally have gained popularity among the people of Sri Lanka as the benefits and uses of the produce becomes unearthed. Kithul was discovered as a native sweetener (since cane sugar was only introduced after colonization) and was heralded for its sweet taste and syrup like viscosity. While the health benefits of kithul, as a naturally occurring sweetener, are invaluable, the virtues of Kithul have sadly become diluted over the years. Farmers that have learnt this trade through generations of their family perfecting the craft are now finding it difficult to sustain their livelihood through harvesting and selling kithul. Caryota Urens trees, often referred to as the ‘fish tailed palm’, needs to be harvested multiple times a day after a precarious climb on a makeshift ladder to make a precision cut in the kithul flower that oozes the liquid gold that is then carefully collected and boiled down to the consistency needed for consumption. From battling the elements, to flailing in the economic hardships of a global pandemic and a distressing reduction in the lack of consumer spending, these once iconic kings of kithul are now struggling in an industry that offers them little to no support. Raga kithul is a refreshing entrant to the industry.
Most kithul companies claim to manufacture the real deal, while in reality, they purchase kithul from farmers or third parties. Raga breaks this cycle with a holistic approach to sourcing and procuring the kithul. Kithul farmers are trained and educated on an efficient and safe system of harvesting and are referred to as ‘kithul technicians’. Our sister company Agri Ceylon employs a strategic backward integration system that ensures an ability to identify the origin of every ounce of kithul syrup used. The sap is collected into containers which are immediately sealed and tagged with a unique barcode that has all the vital information pertaining to the harvest. The barcode allows the company to track the movement of every container through a state of the art automated system that is the only automated system within the industry in Sri Lanka. Finally, the sap is boiled down in machines that prepare the sap for consumption which are designed locally and especially for Raga, taking into consideration production efficiency.
Today, the kithul industry is neglected and has been diluted by those who have chased sweetness over goodness and promoted indulgence over a healthier alternative. Raga hopes to derail that direction with an authentic product that delivers exactly what it should – liquid gold. We might be small, but we aim to be mighty, and our sweet demeanour is ripe with a passion for uplifting this industry to new heights and embracing a national treasure that exists within our own island paradise. Our approach is honest and supportive of the kings of kithul, who have worked tirelessly over generations to keep this industry alive. We celebrate them and we celebrate the purity of kithul.
We are Raga and we are #unapologeticallyreal.