Agripreneurs’ Forum conducts workshop for polytunnel growers | Sunday Observer

Agripreneurs’ Forum conducts workshop for polytunnel growers

8 January, 2023
Panellists at the workshop
Panellists at the workshop

The Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum (SLAF) is the premier forum for agribusiness in Sri Lanka representing growers, farmer organisations, agri value-addition enterprises, agri professionals and academics, agri scientists, local and global marketers of agri produce, providers of agri inputs, and local agri investors.

As a part of SLAF’s objectives in improving the status of the Sri Lankan farmer from subsistence level to being a key player contributing towards the economy, SLAF has identified protected agriculture to be an area of focus. 

To better equip protected agriculture growers with knowledge on succeeding as an agripreneur, SLAF in collaboration with HNB, Unipower, and CIC  held a workshop on protected agriculture at the HNB Towers, Colombo 10 recently.

Over 100 industry representatives including growers, agri input providers, agri service and equipment providers were present.

Financial institutions, and retail companies served as a platform to provide growers with vital connections and solutions.

The full-day workshop which was offered to participants free and consisted of three sessions. The opening session was a speech on the role of SLAF to improve entrepreneurship of polytunnel growers by Chairman of SLAF, Rizvi Zaheed.

Managing Director of CIC Agri Business (Pvt) Ltd, Waruna Madawanarachchi outlined the role of CIC in developing protected agriculture in Sri Lanka.

Head of SME Products and Partnerships, HNBA, Dr. Niluka Amarasinghe made a presentation on the services offered by HNB for agribusinesses and how to access them.

Managing Director of Unipower (Pvt) Ltd., Jayantha Rajapakse, discussed the way forward for polytunnel growers. 

The technical session which followed consisted of a presentation on tips for constructing and maintaining a polytunnel by Modern Agri (Pvt) Ltd., a presentation on selecting crops for polytunnel cultivation by CIC Seeds (Pvt) Ltd., a presentation on plant nutrient management for tunnel crops by Unipower  and a presentation on effective ways of controlling pests and diseases in polytunnels by Cropguard (Pvt) Ltd. 

The third session commenced with a presentation by John Keells Holdings PLC on market-driven product planning.

This was followed by a panel discussion and problem-solving session to dive deep into the core problems faced by the participants and provide solutions.

During this workshop, SLAF led the formation of a national association for protected agri entrepreneurs and identified a core team to drive this initiative. The proposed association is expected to bring about a vast array of benefits to the protected agriculture sector in Sri Lanka.

Chairman of SLAF, Rizvi Zaheed said, “The original intention of SLAF was to connect the stakeholders of agriculture who were working in isolation. We are delighted to witness this intention being actioned and coming to fruition. It is only through collaborative efforts as such can Sri Lanka truly overcome its present crisis and step into a prosperous era of self-sufficiency.

“We invite all of you who are passionate about the sector to join hands with SLAF and come under our ever growing umbrella of individual, SME, corporate, and institutional members so that initiatives such as this can be replicated on a much larger scale across all demographics of Sri Lanka,” he said.