TAMAP workshop on e-Agriculture and Digital Market Platforms to strengthen knowledge and initiatives for digital transformation
To provide stakeholders a platform to gain further understanding of current applications and initiatives of e-agriculture systems, the European Union-funded ‘Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme’ (TAMAP) conducted a workshop on e-Agriculture and Digital Market Platforms in Colombo .
TAMAP in collaboration with the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) brought together private and public sector entities to discuss digital solutions for farmers. Participants were provided with information regarding new agricultural technology applications to expand markets and market opportunities. The current COVID-19 crisis underscored the need to harness e-agriculture solutions to provide real-time information while practicing physical distancing.
Welcoming the participants both at the venue and those joining the workshop online, Dr Christof Batzlen, TAMAP Team Leader indicated that, “TAMAP has started to analyse the demand for e-agriculture solutions in Sri Lanka. TAMAP and HARTI have initiated this discussion to take stock of who is doing what and to examine the nature of the long term plans. The workshop is an entry point for further discussions, regarding the facilitation of e-agriculture and intended to provide direction and recommendations for e-agriculture and digital market platforms in Sri Lanka.”
Joining the workshop via Zoom, Sebastian Balcerak of TAMAP provided a market perspective on What is e-Agriculture? Overview on Various e-Agriculture Systems and Applications in the Global World. He elaborated on the EU’s existing support for e-agriculture, current players, large and small, and interactions between both buyers and sellers.
Explaining FAO’s Digital Agriculture Strategy, Approach and Plan for e-Agriculture in Sri Lanka, Dr Xuebing Sun, FAO Representative in Sri Lanka and Maldives, said, “e-Agriculture is one of the major strategies used by the FAO to promote transformational change in the agricultural sector. FAO is committed to assist the government and its partners to support an emerging digital society. The goal is to develop a national approach: A holistic digital-agriculture approach with a national vision and overall strategic objectives. This to be achieved by identifying the digital-agricultural priorities of the nation and defining the areas of intervention, as well as stakeholders’ responsibilities and necessary resources.”
As the agency responsible for dissemination of appropriate agriculture technologies to farming communities, the National Agriculture Information & Communication Centre, Department of Agriculture’s representative at the workshop, S. Periyasamy, Director, elaborated on What are GoSL’s requirements for an e-agriculture system in Sri Lanka.
He stated that although NAICC encountered challenges to engage stakeholders in an action plan, several ICT initiatives designed by the Department of Agriculture are being successfully implemented. These include management information systems, mobile applications, sharing information through websites, radio broadcasting, call center solutions, social media-based solutions, and digital and printed publications.
Prof. Ranjith Premalal De Silva, Director/CEO, HARTI, while expressing his views on Digital Market Platforms – Issues and Expectations, asked if farmers are prepared to undertake this change and move towards virtual interaction. He considered that, “From farm-gate to food plate, the length of the supply chain can be minimized through digital market platforms”. Prof De Silva elaborated on some constraints to the introduction of the platforms such as farmers’ perspectives, buyer/consumer concerns, retaining the middleman’s legacy, e-product deliverables and the technological backdrop.
Subsequently several digital market platforms for the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka were presented. Mr H.M.J.K. Herath of the GIS Unit of HARTI, presented the HARTI platform and Govipola of Croptronix, Helaviru of Epic and Govi Mithuru of Dialog provided information about their platforms and product offerings. The participants were also updated on the development challenges of these platforms and the future directions for strengthening their user value.
This was followed by a vibrant panel discussion looking into strategies to unlock key bottlenecks for e-agriculture development. Prof Buddhi Marambe of Peradeniya University of Agriculture facilitated the entire workshop and the panel discussions.
Dr Olaf Heidelbach, Programme Manager at the EU Delegation concluded the workshop by stating: “It is amazing to see what has been developed over the past years by the private sector while working in cooperation with the government. My main recommendation for the future – on the country’s e-agriculture strategy – is to identify the comparative advantages of different stakeholders by establishing who is doing what, best. The development of e-Agriculture in Sri Lanka depends to a large extent on private sector initiatives. Dr Heidelbach expressed his satisfaction over the view from the government that “it wishes to play an enabling role as a regulator and ensuring a level playing field.”
Share investors worried over Wealth and Heritage tax
By Hiran H Senewiratne
CSE trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday but the momentum could not be sustained for long owing to investor worries that the government is planning domestic debt restructuring involving the imposition of a wealth and heritage tax on citizens, market sources said.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. The All -Share Price Index went down by 131 points and S and P SL-20 declined by 46.8 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.4 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Agalawattte Plantations, which crossed 45.3 million shares to the tune of Rs 1.5 billion, its shares traded at Rs 35, CTC 420,000 shares crossed for Rs 269 million and its shares traded at Rs 640, Cargills 100,000 shares crossed to the tune of Rs 24.5 million; its shares traded at Rs 245 and Hayleys 300,000 shares crossed for Rs 24 million; its shares traded at Rs 80.
In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, SLT Rs 234 million (two million shares traded), Hayleys RS 121 million (1.5 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 106 million (115,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 69 million (5.6 million shares traded), CTC Rs 65.3 million (101,000 shares traded), Sampath Bank RS 54.7 million (one million shares traded) and Commercial Bank RS 52.5 million (801,000 shares traded).During the day 164 million share volumes changed hands in 20000 transactions.
Brandix ‘RightToRead’ initiative gains momentum enriching Sri Lanka students and transforming learning
Inspired by the challenge to provide Sri Lankan children with better access to learning materials and the transformative power to read and comprehend English, Brandix launched the ‘RightToRead’ project in 2018 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Brandix introduced the ‘ReadToMe’ English learning tool, created by English Helper – India, to improve reading and comprehension skills of Sri Lankan students. Last Monday, Julie Chung, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, visited Susamayawardhana Vidyalaya in Borella, to observe progress of the project and experience how children and educators in Sri Lanka engage with educational technology.
Brandix Lanka Limited, Director, Ajit Johnpillai, said: “Education is the most powerful tool to enrich communities and futures, and Brandix is committed to build a strong foundation for transformational learning for students across Sri Lanka. The progress we have made with RiteToRead over the past two years is promising, and the potential for change in the education sector harnessing such digital technologies is immeasurable. Brandix will continue its commitment to deliver Inspired Solutions for the people of Sri Lanka.”
Dialog TV Boosts Resilience and Capacity with Norsat Satellite Earth Station
Hytera, a leading global provider of professional communications technologies and solutions, is proud to announce the successful deployment of a new backup satellite station for Dialog TV, Sri Lanka’s No.1 satellite Pay TV service provider. The project was fulfilled in 2022 by Hytera and its subsidiary specialized in Satellite Communications (SatCom), Norsat International Inc. The new station enhances the resilience and capacity of Dialog TV’s existing system and ensures continuity of service in the event of damage due to natural disasters.
Dialog TV provides coverage over the entirety of Sri Lanka through the Intelsat 38 Ku-band satellite. As the business expanded, it opted for a backup solution to support its existing satellite station and to strengthen the network’s disaster tolerance.
Hytera and Norsat provided an end-to-end satellite earth station solution that includes the installation, integration, and setup of satellite antennas, a transmission and receiving system, a new network management system (NMS), and a carrier monitoring system (CMS). The NMS makes routine work easier and simpler for on-duty staff, as equipment status, parameter monitoring and configuration, and remote control of the devices can be viewed and accomplished via a single interface. The CMS monitors the carrier spectrum status of satellite signals in real-time and ensures stable signal transmission and receiving.
“We are excited to have been able to work with Dialog TV on this important project,” said Kevin Sun, Sales Director for Hytera South Asia, “Our ability to seamlessly integrate our new equipment and software with Dialog TV’s existing systems has helped to ensure a stable and reliable service for their millions of customers across Sri Lanka.”
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