Why Hydroponics? 0 299

By: Cameron Blake

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

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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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LAKARCADE – A significant turning point in Sri Lankan handicrafts. 0 1683

By : Cameron Blake

With Sri Lanka becoming the number one travel destination according to The Lonely Planet rankings, the success of the novelty gift and souvenir industry, which is one of the major developing categories in tourism, is thus far stabilized. One could say LAKARCADE’s entry into the industry is well-timed, and it is the view of LAKARCADE CEO and Managing Director Anil Koswatte that it is here to cater to the demanding market, by setting up its flagship store in the heart of Colombo.

LAKARCADE is one of the biggest novelty Gift & Souvenir shopping malls in Asia located in the heart of Colombo, LAKARCADE offers a wide array of authentic Sri Lankan souvenirs and novelty gift items. The fine range on display includes carefully selected teas, spices, traditional art & craft items, batiks, gems, jewelry, silverware and many more creative products.

“Sri Lanka is now focusing more on the tourism industry, and we need to exploit this opportunity as much as possible like other South East Asian countries. When you look at tourism development, novelty gift and souvenir industry is one of the major developing categories in the world that contribute to tourism. Gem and jewelry, spa products and handicrafts are subcategories in this industry,” Koswatte said.

According to Koswatte, the statistics of tourists’ arrivals are on the rise, with numbers increasing every year; Sri Lanka currently has reached a mark of 2.5 million arrivals per year. He believes that Sri Lanka has the potential to reach the heights of countries like Thailand and Malaysia, and increase these numbers up to 20 million. As a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Koswatte states that LAKARCADE is getting ready to take up this challenge by aiding the Government as a private entity, to boost economic growth from grassroots level by increasing its service to the rural crafts community.

LakArcade Sri Lanka
Koswatte says that almost all of the products sold at the store are manufactured by village- or cottage-based craftsmen, with the exception of some products being sourced by local but established manufacturers. Crafts and artefacts from Batticaloa, Puttalam and Jaffna, covering areas from North to South, are sourced by LAKARCADE.
“Products that require a quality assurance such as tea, coffee, and spa products, we have reputed and established local manufacturers who supply for us. All products are manufactured here and all resources and expertise are local; we’re not importing anything. So, the majority of the products are produced in the cottage industry,”

According to Koswatte, LAKARCADE provides the rural craftsmen the ability to demand their prices. He said that no bargaining happens on their part, and therefore the craftsmen are assured a reasonable income for their efforts. “We don’t tell them this is your price. They come with their prices and we accept.”

LakArcade Sri Lanka

Koswatte added that the suppliers, the cottage industry manufacturers, are very talented, creative and efficient. However, according to certain market standards and trends, some changes needs to be made, and this is where LAKARCADE collaborates with their designers and produces an end product that has more market value. “The manufacturers are very independent people. There are as per my calculations, 3000-odd suppliers of handicraft in Si Lanka. We purchase from some of these manufacturers, either what they are producing according to their designs, or after we do our own designs and value additions.”

LAKARCADE has recruited a very famous design consultant, Senaka De Silva. His expertise is utilised into understanding current market trends, and incorporated into the products produced by the suppliers.

“Suppliers come and see the stores. They can see the consumer points, consumer behaviour, market trends, what components in their production they should enhance such as packaging and weight. It’s an exposure program for them also. This is where the manufacturer and the buyer meets. They can see for themselves how the market behaves to their products,” he explained.
With a wide range of items such as gem and jewelry, handloom, Sri Lankan batik, Ceylon spices, Ceylon tea and coffee and handicrafts, the exclusivity of a gift shop such as this is its ability to make a global presence through e-commerce, says Koswatte. “We already have the facility in place for customers to do their shopping online. We’re joining with Ikman.lk and we’re aiming to have a global presence like Amazon and Alibaba as vendors.”

“Our market segment here is 80% tourists. Some people come and order items big in size such as wooden elephants or artefacts, and we will deliver it to their doorstep through our air-freight or sea cargo,” Koswatte explained.

LakArcade Sri Lanka

The team at LAKARCADE is equipped with expertise knowledge as they all have prior experience working in a similar scope. With ease, one can observe a cross-section of Sri Lankan heritage and culture at LAKARCADE.

Koswatte says that unless marketing linkage is provided, the village- or cottage-based craftsman doesn’t get reasonable prices for their efforts. He states that the backward integration in the business, from buyer to manufacturer linking, is one of its main goals. Therefore, the sustainability of this business in the long run with adequate income to the craftsman is promised when market facilities such as LAKARCADE is available in the Centre of Colombo, aiming the tourists.

“As a marketing linkage institution, LAKARCADE does not produce any items sold at the store. All these are produced in the village level, either in the cottage industry or either in a rural level craftsman-owned business. Most of the products come from the cottage industry,” Koswatte explained.
Sri Lanka has a significant advantage on gem and jewellery, being one of the major countries manufacturing gems and jewellery, in addition to tea and spices, according to Koswatte, and he further added that Sri Lanka has the competitor advantage, with the ability to demand higher prices in these categories. “If the consumers aren’t happy with our product, including our gem and jewellery, they can return it and we can pay back. We have the money-back guarantee as well.”
Koswatte says that from the point of country, LAKARCADE plays the part of brand-building or destination-marketing for Sri Lanka, and that it is their corporate responsibility, objective, vision and goal.

“The tourism industry should sustain with a good image and attractive campaign and we are part of it. Our Sri Lankan authentic products should enhance the total value of the Sri Lankan brand. I believe LAKARCADE plays a major role in providing this assurance,” Koswatte elaborated.
LAKARCADE truly Sri Lankan with a vision “To become the global representative of authentic Sri Lankan Novelty Gift & Souvenir items by preserving our heritage”.

Nanotechnology in Agriculture System 0 317

By: Chantal D.

Sources:  Agronomy

Agriculture is the backbone of most of the developing countries in which a major part of their income comes from agriculture sector and more than half of their population depends on it for their livelihood.  The current global population is nearly 7.7 billion with 50% living in Asia. A large proportion of those livings in developing countries face daily food shortages as a result of environmental impacts or political instability, while in the developed world there is a food surplus. For developing countries, the drive is to develop drought and pest-resistant crops which also maximize yield. In developed countries, the food industry is driven by consumer demand which is currently for the fresher and healthier food products.

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Specifically in agriculture, technical innovation is of importance with regard to addressing global challenges such s population growth, climate change and the limited availability of important plant nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium.

Nanotechnology has gained intense attention in the recent years due to its wide applications in several areas like medicine, medical drugs, catalysis, energy and materials. Those nanoparticles with small size to the large surface area (1-100nm) have several potential functions. These days, sustainable agriculture is needed. The development of nonchemical has appeared as promising agents for the plant growth, fertilizers and pesticides. In recent years, the use of Nano materials’ has been considered as the alternative solution to control pant pests including insects, fungi and weeds.

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Despite these potential advantages, the agricultural sector is still comparably marginal and has not yet made it to the market to any larger extent in comparison with other sectors of nanotechnology application.

Nanotechnology helps agricultural sciences and reduce environmental pollution of pesticides and chemical fertilizers by using the nano particles and nano capsules with the ability control or delayed delivery, absorption and more effective and environmentally friendly and production of nano -crystals  to increase the efficiency of pesticides for application of pesticides with lower dose.

In the agricultural sector, nanotech research and development is likely to facilitate and frame the next stage of development of genetically modified crops, animal products inputs, chemical pesticides and precision farming techniques. The use of nanotechnology in agriculture has been mostly theoretical but it has begun and will continue to have a significant effect in the main areas of the food industry development of new functional materials, product development and design of methods and instrumentation for food safety and bio-security.

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