ICTA spearheads ‘AgTech Showcase’

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Initiative to increase awareness and adoption of technology in agriculture sector 

ICTA Chief Digital Economy Officer Anura De Alwis 
ICTA Director Technology Diffusion Professor Pradeep Abeygunawardhana 

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) is at the forefront of driving digital transformation to make Sri Lanka a digitally-inclusive nation. The ‘AgTech Showcase’ held on 10 June virtually, is an initiative to increase awareness and adoption of technology in the agriculture industry. 

This initiative focuses on creating collaboration among stakeholders in the agriculture sector, introducing new and advanced agri-technologies from local and international experts, providing necessary support for new technology research and development, and connecting solution providers with technology-based companies. 

ICTA Chief Digital Economy Officer Anura De Alwis speaking at the session stated, “In line with the Digital Economy strategy, five key pillars are identified as drivers to achieve our vision of making Sri Lanka a digitally-inclusive nation. Namely; Technology Industry Development, Startup Ecosystem Development, Capacity Building, Technology Diffusion, and Regional Cluster Development. Agriculture is identified as a priority industry under the scope of Technology Diffusion. We need to harness the benefits of modern technology and blend it with our traditional practices to help transform and create a thriving agriculture industry in Sri Lanka.” 

From Germany, Enpact Managing Director Jan Lachenmayer shared insights from a global perspective and how impactful, sustainable innovation can occur within ecosystems in the agriculture sector. He also shared expert advice about the Smart Technology used in agriculture and farming.  ICTA Director Technology Diffusion Professor Pradeep Abeygunawardhana commenting on this initiative stated, “Technology can benefit the agriculture sector in many ways. Advanced economies use sophisticated technology such as robotics, Artificial Intelligence, IOT, Smart Farming, precision agriculture, biotechnology, nanotechnology, hydroponics, and aqua phonics to increase productivity.” 

He went on to say, “As a nation, we need to harness the benefit of technology for any industry to be more profitable, efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly. AgTech showcase is one of the many initiatives we have planned to encourage continuous discussion and dialogue with stakeholders such as farming associations, government departments and institutes, AgTech service providers, AgTech companies, and industry experts.” 

AIGrow Ltd. Director Dr. Beshan Kulapala, SpectrifyAI Chief Financial Officer Lakshan De Silva, Senzagro Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Miller Rejendran, Epic Lanka Business Analyst Commodity Exchange Platforms Buddhi Warushavithana, Heylese Agriculture Holdings Ltd. Manager Chathuranga Bopeththa, John Keells Holdings Head of Fresh Food Category Mifra Ismail, and Cargills Agro Development Co. Operations Manager Chandika Gunathilake, showcased their innovations at the forum. The session was followed by an engaging panel discussion with the closing remarks given by Sri Lanka Agriprenuers Forum Chairman Rizvi Zaheed. 

With over 130 participants actively engaging in the session, it was well-commended by industry experts, professionals, corporates representing the agriculture industry, and Agtech entrepreneurs.  

The plan for AgTech Innovation Sri Lanka program was revealed at the forum. AgTech Forums, Product Market place, AgTech Consultancy Network, AgTech Research, and Development Arm, AgTech Summit, and AgTech School are among the many aligned initiatives under the AgTech Innovation Sri Lanka program. These initiatives will ensure continuous dialogue among stakeholders in the Agtech industry to drive higher productivity, more income, and improved quality of life for those whose livelihoods depend on the agriculture industry.