Traffic-Jams-in-Sri-Lanka

BY T.V. PERERA

At the turn of the century, chaos and anarchy ruled the streets of Colombo, and that was not because city traffic was a mess then as it is now. Everyone will agree that traffic in Colombo has worsened in recent times; slow moving on all main trunk roads into the city not only during rush hours but also at normal times, and getting worse in the heart of Colombo. If Colombo is to accommodate the growing number of vehicles on its roads, the road network would have to be increased by three-fold in the not too distant future.

Colloquially known as traffic jams or traffic snarlups, traffic congestion is a transport condition characterized by slow speeds, longer trip times and increased vehicular queueing. When traffic is great, interaction between vehicles slows the speed of the traffic stream which results in congestion. Likewise, as demand approaches the capacity of a
road or its intersections, extreme congestion sets in. Traffic congestion also occurs when a column of traffic generates demand for space greater than that available, when vehicles are fully stopped for periods of time and also due to incidents such as a crash or roadworks which may reduce road capacity below normal levels.
According to the Time magazine, Sao Paulo in Brazil has the world’s worst daily traffic jam with over 300 kms of cummulative queues around the city during the evening rush hours. Last year, Mumbai was the worst city for traffic chaos where drivers can expect to spend an average 65% extra time stuck in a gridlock.

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Individual incidents such as accidents or even a single car braking heavily could cause congestion, yet traffic research still cannot fully predict under which conditions a traffic jam as opposed to heavy but smoothly flowing traffic may suddenly occur. Of the over 4.4 million vehicles registered, around 2.7 million are on the roads causing the Colombo roads to be full with traffic congestion as an average 250,000 vehicles made up of 15,000 buses, 10,000 trucks and 225,000 private vehicles enter the city daily.

A man-made menace, traffic congestion has a number of negative effects such as being detrimental to the development of a country, killing productivity, and is a national waste. Not only does productivity and the sense of well-being go astray, it also leaves people angry, exhausted and depressed. To get stuck in a traffic jam of stress is really frustrating. Vehicle numbers increasing without any plan to expand road conditions and manage road discipline, is plainly visible.

The increasing vehicles contribute to long lines on the road yet no one seems to be interested in taking any positive and effective action other than the police which is responsible for controlling this mess. Successive governments have indicated intentions of taking corrective measures but nothing has been done to control road traffic which besides being annoying, is costing us billions of rupees and a massive financial and manhour loss as a result of no vehicular control in the Greater Colombo areas. Statistics reveal that there are 130 vehicles per 1000 people out of which 66% are motor cycles while three-wheelers and cars make up 45 vehicles per 1000 people. Very soon the number of vehicles on the road could grow to 5 million and there will be 250 vehicles per every 1000 persons which may concentrate around the city. This is contrary to the country’s needs of fewer vehicles carrying more people.

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Co-creating solutions at the grass root to make a difference for dairy farmers 0 64

              Sri Lanka’s smallholder dairy farmers are at the heart of the local dairy industry and an integral part of the nation’s rural economy. 

              This 300,000 strong farmer base supplies 90% of the nation’s local milk – and has the potential to greatly improve their yield of high-quality milk and thus their own income levels, driving a positive impact to the socio-economic landscape of rural Sri Lanka. 

Focused training and development to improve milk yield and quality:

As a dairy co-operative from New Zealand, Fonterra continues to work hand-in-hand with smallholder dairy farmer families, communities, and other partners to create a thriving local dairy industry, having invested over Rs. 3.7Bn into strengthening its local dairy value chain. 

 Managing Director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka and Indian Sub-Continent Ms. Vidya Sivaraja explains that as a dairy co-operative at heart, the company is committed to making a tangible difference by sharing expertise and best practices. 

“We have invested in focused training and development initiatives with our farmers centred around the right herd, right feed and right business model to increase milk yield and quality. Our pioneering Training and Demonstration Farm in Pannala opened in 2016 to help us amplify the impact of these initiatives.”

Over the years, Fonterra has trained over six thousand farmers across the nation at its Pannala Training and Demonstration Farm and has welcomed over a thousand visitors from the government, universities, and other institutions.

Co-creating solutions at the grassroots:

In addition to the above programmes in place, Fonterra commenced an initiative to co-create and implement specific solutions together with its dairy farmers through its ‘Dairy Discussion Groups’, organised at the grass root. These solutions were geared to improve milk quality and yield through practical training, the provision of fodder and farming equipment and a workable cost-effective business model.

The solutions being implemented are in line with the imperatives called out by the President’s National Policy Framework. At the centre is the small holder dairy farmer – a focus that has been echoed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication. 

At Fonterra’s Pannala Training and Demonstration Farm, fodder is grown and distributed to neighbouring farmers in the vicinity

Ms. Vidya Sivaraja hands over grass cutting equipment to a Fonterra dairy farmer at a September Dairy Discussion Group.

“Good insights come from the grass root. Such consultations have been valuable in co-creating solutions to help improve milk quality and yield,” says Vidya. “Our discussions only prove that our country is rich in resources, talent and ingenuity. We are committed to championing this potential in line with the nation’s priorities.” 

Dairy farmers participate in Dairy Discussion Group series kicked off by Ms. Vidya Sivaraja and her team.

Fonterra dairy farmer Mr. Dharmashri Thennakoon, one of the beneficiaries of the fodder and equipment distribution programme stated, “The Dairy Discussion Group was a valuable learning experience and we will be able to apply these learnings on-farm. I was very appreciative that this was followed with the provision of grass cutting equipment. We hope Fonterra continues to host discussions such as this in the future where we can all grow together and find solutions as a community.” 

Mr. Indra Jayasinghe, a Fonterra dairy farmer from Kuliyapitiya says, “At a time where accessibility and costs of feed is a challenge, getting extra fodder from Fonterra helped me sustain my operations.”

Global co-operative, local footprint:

Fonterra touches the livelihoods of over 250,000 people across the country through its operations, including traders, retailers, distributors, agents and farmers.

Since 1997, Fonterra Brands Lanka has been collecting Sri Lankan milk for its local dairy portfolio of set and stirred yogurts, drinking yogurts, and fresh and flavored milk. To preserve the quality of this milk, Fonterra has also invested in milk chilling, collecting, and processing infrastructure with pioneering technology that can help define future milk quality standards for the nation. 

The company has also recently accelerated its export efforts of value-added dairy, in alignment with the vision and the imperatives set out by the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication.

Amongst the many initiatives in place to grow our nation’s local dairy industry, multi-stakeholder collaboration and co-creation of solutions is a refreshing approach, bringing farmers, dairy companies, industry groups and the government together to make a difference. 

Why Hydroponics? 0 473

By: Cameron Blake

Sources:  Oklohoma State University/ Life Easy blog/ The Lanka Salad Company

BiZnomics- Why hydeoponics-1

Hydroponics is a system of soilless cultivation using water-based nutrients.

Hydroponics, by definition, is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. Hydroponics does not use soil, instead, the root system is supported using an inert medium such as perlite, rock -wool, clay pellets, peat moss or vermiculite.

The hydroponic system offers farmers the ability to grow crops in areas where traditionally it would simply not be possible (like mountain lettuce at sea level in Sri Lanka). Growing hydroponically (as with vertical farming, aquaponics, aeroponics etc) also saves a lot of land space.

Many growers believe that growing in a soilless medium requires about the same effort as growing in soil. Not as fast as full Hydro-Growing in a soilless medium will get faster growth rates in soil, but cannabis plants will not grow as fast as a hydroponic medium that is able to get more oxygen to the roots.

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Well managed hydroponic set-ups are also highly energy-efficient and their existence places less strain on the environment than many traditional ‘monoculture’ farming systems. Water is recycled throughout the hydroponic system, greatly reducing the overall volumes required. As a general benchmark, it is considered that the hydroponic system use as little as 10% of the water required for soil-based agriculture.

BiZnomics--Why-hydeoponics-3With the global population growing steadily, it is imperative that a new form of agriculture develops alongside traditional methods to meet increasing food needs with lower impacts.

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