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Industrial drones to uplift agriculture in Sri Lanka

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Sumathi Information Technologies (SiT), a subsidiary of Sumathi Holdings – a large and extensively diversified business conglomerate in Sri Lanka, is a well reputed and established organization in the technology industry in Sri Lanka. Backed by over 20 years of experience the organization has now ventured further paving the way to provide feasible and efficient solutions for agriculture in Sri Lanka.

As a subsidiary of Sumathi Holdings, Sumathi Information Technologies is a professionally managed, socially responsible, successful company that delivers superior value to their stakeholders. Sumathi Holdings has further diversified and has several other strategic investments and alliances in several key sectors of the economy.

SiT initiated Global Positioning Systems through hand held devices in 1994 and since then has evolved exponentially, specializing and providing enterprise-level Global Positioning Systems, Geographic Information Systems and Communication solutions to Government Agencies and other leading business organizations in the country. The SiT team works meticulously striving to create applications that meet the overall strategy of their clients.

This business venture of SiT, being the 1st to test and implement industrial Drones in construction, irrigation and military tasks as well as the pioneers to introduce Anti Drone technology and counter measures for the security forces, focuses on revolutionizing key industries in Sri Lanka with special emphasis on the agriculture industry having successfully launched agricultural spraying services island-wide.

Having entered into a partnership in 2017 with Dà-Jiāng Innovations (better known as DJI), the world’s leading drone manufacturer in China, SiT and Retail IT (a supporting arm of Sumathi Holdings) were able to further enhance their geographic information solutions (GIS).

Infusing technology to local industries like agriculture will immensely contribute towards industrial development as well as community development in Sri Lanka by uplifting farmers wellbeing brought about by effective time and crop management.

The use of drone technology in the agriculture sector will vastly benefit the industry by enabling treatment from above for crops as high as 30 meters or even for infant and maturing crops at ground level. The footage will provide high quality zone maps for future reference and crop planning. Remote monitoring of crops and livestock plus targeted nutrient or pesticide applications with the generation of variable rate prescriptions will help to decrease inputs and maximize profits. The health of the crops can be assessed accurately using NDVI technology developed by NASA to process photos in a way that helps the human eye better visualize plant health. This will eliminate False-Colour mapping and reduce wastage. The crops can be managed better and safeguarded by the timely detection of weeds, diseases, and pests.

Commenting on the partnership, Executive Director of Sumathi Information Technologies, Mr. Chadu Sumathipala stated, “We are very pleased to make advancements with new technology and approaches. Times have changed drastically over the last decade and we need to look at embracing new technologies to strategically drive our industries to achieve maximum output. The use of drone technology will help to increase productivity and utilize resources in an effective manner to yield higher profits.”

Through the introduction of new technology, SiT will be able to provide many cutting-edge services to a wide array of businesses & service sectors. Organizations can utilize drones for the transportation of essential documents between harbor offices and ships as well as deliver blood samples/ medical reports/ emergency medicines between hospitals, laboratories and main pharmacies. In the Construction & Engineering sector, the progress of construction sites can be monitored with real time videos. Drones can be used to obtain highly accurate survey maps with real images whilst efficiently and cost effectively carrying out building maintenance with high power washing. Drones can also play a major role in firefighting services; rescue mission planning, obtaining live videos from operating room, dropping powders from the air where human interaction is zero are a few options. Furthermore, drones can be utilized for management of wildlife and forestry with increased efficiency and minimal errors and risks. In the energy sector drones are used for solar panel inspection and maintenance, and turbine inspection of wind power plants, thereby reducing associated risks commendably. Periodical checks of aircrafts, and inspecting the runaway for FODs is another area of work that can be carried out with the use of drones. Urban planning, development, coastal conservation and fish farming are industries that can be successfully developed through the application of drones

As the market leader and authorized agent for DJI and Pix4D in Sri Lanka for Enterprise and Agriculture drones, SiT offers a range of services including Drone utility and mapping software, Professional photogrammetry, Enterprise and Agriculture drone supply, Agriculture spraying services, Anti drone detect and destroy technology, combined with a renowned after sales support.



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SLT-MOBITEL donates fourth PCR machine to Matara District Hospital

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Group Chairman of SLT-MOBITEL Rohan Fernando handing over the donation to Deputy Director of Matara District Hospital Upali Ratnayake accompanied by Dr.Thushara Vidanapathirana, Dr.Deepika Priyanthi and Group CEO of SLT-MOBITEL Lalith Seneviratne.

Recognising the importance to enhance Sri Lanka’s PCR testing capacity to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and to protect citizens, SLT-MOBITEL continues its support by donating yet another vital PCR machine to the District General Hospital in Matara recently.

The donation of the PCR machine valued at over Rs. 5.7 million is part of SLT-MOBITEL’s ‘Sabandiyawe Sathakaraya’ CSR initiative in further strengthening the nation’s healthcare systems and assisting communities in need.

The equipment was handed over to the Deputy Director of the Matara Hospital Doctor Upali Rathnayaka in the presence of Rohan Fernando, Group Chairman, SLT-MOBITEL; Lalith Seneviratne, Group Chief Executive Officer, SLT-MOBITEL; Kiththi Perera, CEO, SLT; Shashika Senarath, CMO, Mobitel along with Regional GM, SLT; Regional Head – Mobitel and Hospital Staff.

Previously, PCR machines were donated to the Base Hospital, Karawanella, District General Hospital, Matale and the University Hospital of the Kotelawala Defense University. SLT-MOBITEL appreciates the support received from all Sri Lankans towards ‘Daana Paaramitha’ which was conceptualized as a platform to further increase community involvement in carrying out relief efforts to support families affected by the pandemic.

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Extension of lockdown negatively impacts CSE

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By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading activities commenced yesterday in a lacklustre manner with little share-buying interest and later on became negative following the government’s announcement on the lockdown extension until October 1, stock market analysts said.

The Colombo International Financial Centre (CIFC) at the Port City was set to commence this month and has been delayed until December owing to the current Covid 19 situation. This also affected CSE trading activities yesterday, analysts said.

Consequently, the stock market lost steam yesterday, closing on a negative note as investor sentiment remained erratic due to internal and external environmental factors. Both indices moved downwards or to negative territory despite healthy turnover in the market. The All Share Price Index went down by 46.09 points and S and P SL20 declined by 17.93 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3.8 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported in Expolanka, where 600,000 shares crossed for Rs. 101.1 million, its shares trading at Rs. 158.50 and Sampath Bank one million shares crossed for Rs. 49.5 million, its shares traded at Rs. 49.50.

In the retail market, some companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs. 1.2 billion (7.4 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 604 million (4.6 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 540 million (58.3 million shares traded) and Hayleys Rs. 204 million (2 million shares traded).

It is said that following two sessions of gains, the indices closed in the red due to price declines in large-cap stocks as investors opted to book modest returns after the recent sharp rally. Stocks such as Expo, LOLC, and JKH, which saw sharp gains in the past two sessions witnessed profit-taking at higher levels and weighed on the momentum throughout the session.

Further, high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in Sampath Bank. Mixed interest was observed in Expolanka Holdings, Tokyo Cement Company and LOLC Holdings, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, Lanka Orix Finance and Industrial Asphalts. During the day 153 million share volumes changed hands in 24000 transactions.

As of yesterday, the current exchange rate of 1 US dollar was equal to 199.607 Sri Lankan rupees. This is an increase of 7.856656 percent (or +14.5401 LKR) compared with the same time last year (17 September 2020), when 1 US dollar equaled 185.067 Sri Lankan rupees.

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Lockdown takes toll on Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector activities

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The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2021 has slowed down the manufacturing activities in the country. Accordingly, the manufacturing PMI recorded an index value of 45.1 in August 2021 with a fall of 12.7 index points from the previous month, mainly driven by the decrease in New Orders, Production, Employment, and Stock of Purchases sub-indices. The decline in New Orders and Production, especially in the manufacture of food & beverages, furniture, and textiles & wearing apparel sectors, have mainly contributed to the overall decrease of the manufacturing PMI. Many respondents in those sectors highlighted that their local orders and distribution channels were affected due to the lockdown imposed as a measure of containing the pandemic. Further, many of them also emphasised that factory operations were disrupted due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus among employees. Employment sub-index also declined in line with these developments.

The decrease of Stock of Purchases was in line with the decline in New Orders and Production. Further, the difficulties encountered in placing purchase orders and in settling foreign payments also adversely affected the supply chain of raw materials and production schedules. Many respondents stressed that the continuous increase in the cost of imported raw materials adversely affected their profit margins. Meanwhile, Suppliers’ Delivery Time lengthened at a slower rate in August 2021. The manufacturers cautioned that the uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic would continuously hinder the prospects of the manufacturing sector, yet, overall expectations for manufacturing activities for the next three months remained above the neutral threshold.

Services PMI dropped to an index value of 46.2 in August 2021 with the restrictions imposed to contain the further spread of the COVID-19. New Businesses, Business Activity, Employment and Expectations for Activity sub-indices recorded declines. New Businesses decreased in August compared to the previous month mainly with the declines observed in wholesale and retail trade, insurance, real estate, and education sub-sectors. Business Activities across most of the sub-sectors such as, wholesale and retail trade, real estate, insurance and other personal activities reported considerable declines indicating the adverse effects of travel restrictions on their business operations. Nevertheless, transportation sub-sector recorded some improvements solely due to the growth in freight volumes. Moreover, financial services sub-sector also indicated improvements despite the disturbances from travel restrictions. Employment continued to fall at a higher pace as retirements and voluntary resignations exceeded the number of recruitments carried out during the month. Backlogs of Work increased at a higher pace in August along with the reduction in staff availability amid travel restrictions and growing COVID-19 infections of staff. (CBSL)

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