Sri Lankan floral company Lassana.com (Pvt.) Ltd. will pilot an innovative agribusiness model with a three-pronged approach to reduce the cost of climate adaptation technologies and post-harvest losses in vegetable farming using a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Lassana.com will use the $162,000 USAID grant to develop a model that will reduce the cost of polytunnels by introducing low-cost and sustainable bamboo.
The company also will introduce an e-commerce mobile application enabling consumers to reach producers directly, which will ensure traceability and reduce post-harvest loss through better inventory control.
Lastly, Lassana.com plans to establish a large cold storage facility at its Dambulla collection center to benefit local farmer groups to preserve the quality of vegetables, which also reduces post-harvest losses.
This model will help to improve yields, increase income, and provide better living standards. It will also help consumers with stable pricing and fresh quality vegetables in addition to traceability.
“Private sector engagement is essential to bridge the adaptation gap,” said Acting USAID Mission Director Debra Mosel. “By partnering with the private sector, USAID is leveraging its finances, technical know-how, and ingenuity to help rural farmers improve their production and increase income through private sector-led innovative solutions to agricultural practices that reduce climate risks.
“The United States has been a strong and supportive partner of Sri Lanka for 75 years. Among other work, by promoting climate adaptation in the agriculture sector, USAID helps to ensure the country’s food security and contributes to sustainable economic growth.” she added.
The grant is through USAID’s Climate Change Adaptation Project, which helps to promote climate resilience through sustainable and inclusive market-based growth approaches in agriculture, fisheries, and tourism sectors.
“This partnership will give us the opportunity to work with the rural farmer community on sustainable, climate resilient, yet modern agriculture,” said Dr. Lasantha Malavige, chief executive officer of Lassna, which specializes in floriculture, horticulture, and e-commerce. “Outcomes of this project could transform livelihoods of rural farmer communities and help consumers access the highest quality fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.
“Furthermore, we expect the project to scale up this innovative agribusiness model, which will help stabilize the extreme fluctuations in prices of vegetables and fruits throughout the year and reduce post-harvest losses.” added Dr Malavige.
Lassana.com is the largest flower grower in Sri Lanka and manages the largest floriculture out-grower network in the country. In addition, it also manages the most utilized e-commerce platform (www.lassana.com) that connects fruit and vegetable producers directly to the consumer.
Cover Photo: Nick Hobgood- Chief of Party- USAID Climate Adaptation Project, Dr Lasantha Malavige - Chairman/Managing Director - Lassana.com Pvt Ltd., Christopher Powers- Director, Office of Economic Growth- USAID, Prasad Senadeera - CEO, Lassana Agri Innovations Pvt Ltd., and Nihani Riza- Project Management Specialist, Office of Economic Growth- USAID.