Dr. Ravi Sangakkara, Farewell Dear Friend

Today I heard I have lost a good friend, mentor, colleague in science, colleague in EM, supporter and friend of New Zealand.  Dr. Ravi Sangakkara passed away after failing to recover from an accident and subsequent heart attack.

I first met Ravi at a large Organic Farming Conference in Brazil in 1992. Ravi presented a paper on Micro-organisms and their effect on plant growth and soil improvement. This was my first contact with EM, and as history shows became a turning point in my life and work with EM. I have Ravi to thank for this.

Since that time Ravi has been a regular visitor to NZ, a place he loved and regarded as his second home. Ravi obtained a PhD from Massey University in the 1980’s. During that time his affection and strong connectedness to New Zealand began. Ravi has lifelong friends from NZ, and has stayed in close touch with them over the years. Ravi had a very distinguished career in teaching and science, and was a great advocate for Organic Farming, Nature Farming and EM research.

Ravi had a publications list of more than 200 refereed Journal Papers. He held a position of Senior Professor in Crop Science at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Ravi supervised many students at Masters and PhD level, and was a very active in research, with positions on editorial boards of several reputable international  journals (including, Journal Agricultural Science, Cambridge).

Ravi has for many years been a visiting Professor at the prestigious ETH University in Zurich, where he taught students and wrote scientific publications, contributing to that impressive list of references.

Ravi’s contribution to the research, promotion and uptake of EM technology has been huge. He has always been a background person, staying out of the limelight, but always a key person in the organisations in which he participated. The extent of his work is so great; anyone of us can only see the tip of the iceberg.

Ravi was a very loyal person to his friends and to people he believed were genuinely working for a good cause. His workload was huge, and those close to Ravi can all remember his desire to get onto his emails every night, and then spend long hours  burning the midnight oil,  answering the many queries, marking papers and keeping in touch with people all around the world. When sending an email to Ravi, you could always guarantee a speedy reply. Ravi loved a home cooked meal, and the company of friends; he had a great sense of humour, and would laugh heartily at amusing situations.

Ravi contribution to our work in NZ on EM research, production and promotion has been immense. Ravi has been a regular visitor to NZ over the more than 20 years I have known him. His many contributions involved mentorship, advising on projects, organising conferences and seminars, and promptly answering the many hundreds of queries over the years. For the last 10 years he has come to NZ each year to spend a week with us, speaking at conferences, seminars and meetings. Then just before returning to his International duties, he would spend a few days with his very dear friends near Wellington, he considered as his adoptive parents, Geoff and Joyce Moss, a couple now in their eighties.

Ravi will be greatly missed by many people, none so much as us here in New Zealand.

Rest in Peace Ravi, May God Bless you.

Mike Daly, New Zealand

30/8/2014