On the 1st of November, the LIRNEasia team travelled to Jaffna with some southern farmers (who already sell their products to the export market), exporters and experts in agriculture. For some of them, this was their first visit to Jaffna.
LIRNEasia has been working on agriculture since 2006. Most recently, in the context of the Inclusive Information Society project that is being wrapped up, I was talking about GAP compliance with an agri-producer connected to global supply chains standing in a paddy field in Kandy on which he was growing bitter gourd for export to Europe, where among other things, he described the various authorizations he had to obtain because he was cultivating on land designated as being for rice. I recalled a conversation with Helani Galpaya several years ago upon her return from a field visit connected to our agriculture research. She said, we’re looking to solve information and knowledge problems, but the biggest barriers the farmers face is with regard to land. The 2018 Budget Speech proposes to relax the constraints that have been artificially imposed on what farmers can do with their land.
The Sunday Observer reported on the dissemination workshop conducted on 13 October 2011: Kapugama said that Sri Lanka should promote high density planting and intensive management to boost pineapple cultivation in the country. Pineapple cultivators in Sri Lanka face many challenges due to the scarcity of land, healthy suckers and the absence of high yielding cultivation methods. The high cost of fertiliser is a major factor that affects the cost of production. Kapugama said that due to the problems faced by pineapple cultivators exporters and pineapple-based product manufacturers are adversely affected. “There should be a proper mechanism to obtain information on pineapple sucker providers based on their reputation”, Kapugama said.
Reducing the quality penalty suffered by smallholder growers of fruits and vegetables was a main theme at the dissemination seminar conducted by LIRNEasia in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Vegetable and Fruit Producers, Processors and Exporters Association. The discussion also addressed the value of smallholders organizing themselves into cooperative associations somewhat like what had been done in Ghana with Farmapine. The importance of knowledge was recognized by all. Sujata Gamage’s presentation on knowledge networks in solid-waste management pointed to the need to shift from outmoded models that placed universities as the sole sources of new knowledge, to new thinking that places suppliers, buyers and even competitors as key sources of knowledge. The presentations by Rohan Samarajiva, Sriganesh Lokanathan, Nilusha Kapugama, Harsha de Silva and Sujata Gamage are given below, along with the policy brief on recommendations to improve the performance of the Sri Lanka pineapple value chain in Sinhala and English.
21 – 23 February 2008 at Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Sri Lanka LIRNEasia hosted a Workshop to discuss the policy level implications and business level possibilities of using ICTs to reduce transaction costs in the agricultural value chain as well as to improve traceability and enhance quality of products sold. The Workshop brought together key stakeholders consisting of policy makers, private and public sector participants and researchers, both in agriculture and ICT. It was based on the pilot projects conducted by LIRNEasia in 2007, which was discussed in detail at the Workshop. All presentations made at the Workshop can be found below: Traceability: International Perspective – Visoot Phongsathorn Linking Sri Lankan farmers to global markets – Dr. Harsha de Silva Traceability in agricultural markets – Shamistra Soysa Benefits of ICT applications to farmers with emphasis on transaction costs: experiences from India – Prof.