Agriculture Sector Modernization Project (ASMP) has identified the importance of developing the floriculture industry in Sri Lanka as a potential income generator to earn foreign income.
The global demand for cut flowers, foliage, and ornamental plants has been on a steady rise for the last decade. Sri Lanka has become home for enormous botanical varieties where a wide range of floricultural species are well grown. It is a lucrative agribusiness with a high potential to earn a high revenue.
Sri Lanka’s export-oriented Floriculture Industry was established during 1980/81. However the country’s floriculture agro-businesses and exports are still limited to a small number of producers such as farmer cluster organizations, out growers, foreign direct investors and joint collaborations producing floriculture products for export.
The National Policy Framework of the Government of Sri Lanka which came to implementation in 2010 aimed to develop the floriculture sector as a source of income generation for unemployed women in the country. However, still the business is in the hands of few exporters, middle level growers and small-scale growers.
The flower industry spreads in 500 hectares out of which the majority is in the Western Province. According to the statistics, foliage plants, carnations, roses, gerberas, anthurium and orchids are grown on 472, 10, 3, 2, 2, 10 and 3 hectares respectively. 5000 are employed in the industry.
Hence the ASMP has planned to develop the industry as large and medium scale projects. The projects of the ASMP are spread in Colombo, Gampaha, Rathnapura, Badulla, and Nuwara Eliya.
The main objectives of the project are to expand the existing floriculture industry over the country while uplifting the quality of products and standards to an export level through technology transferring, diversifying the floral products in the form of varieties, value additions, catering the existing export demand and financially supporting the local self-employed farmers in the country to be further sustainable as well as creating more job opportunities.
Under the cluster program, 50% of the total project investment was provided as a grant to each individual farmer to construct net houses and poly-tunnels. The large-scale growers in the ASMP project are Lassana Flora (Pvt.) Ltd, Blooms Agriculture (Pvt.) Ltd and Kumari Nursery. Their main product range comprises Roses, Chrysanthemums, Gerberas, cut foliage and ornamental plants who are enjoying a significant market share in the local as well as export markets.
Introduction to newly developed high demanding varieties such as Chrysanthemums, cultivation in modern green houses with climate controlled systems, automation systems soil sterilization using modern equipment by minimizing chemical applications are remarkable technology transformations introduced by the project.
Rain water harvesting and reducing carbon footprint by using solar power for cold storage facilities and light in green houses are environmentally friendly innovations under the project. Freezer trucks, cold storage and appropriate modern packaging from out grower farmers to the final destination minimizes post-harvest losses.
As a result of the project, ASMP has been able to generate 153 direct employment for the local community as well as provide direct benefits for 295 beneficiaries as well as bring in much needed foreign exchange of Rs. 3852 million per annum to the country.
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