(100% Harmless + 100% Traceable = 100% Love)
To provide Colombo Sri Lanka a 100% Harmless and 100% Traceable Regenerative Nourishing Food System for 2050 from 2020 with LOVE.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Intifarm Global Pvt Limited
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Agriculture Ministry of Sri Lanka
Primary Industries Ministry of Sri Lanka
National Cooperative Council of Sri Lanka
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
What country is your selected Place located in?
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I was born and raised in Colombo Sri Lanka. All my life I was here, apart for about 5 years which I stayed in the UK, India and Bangladesh. Since 1979, have seen many changes happenning to the city and the effect of global influence.
From my childhood Sri Lanka has been a tourist destination. Since I was little, we have experienced the city and the country as a part of a global village. Although we were suffering from a 30 year long war we were always connected to the world through our hospitality traditions. Colombo Sri Lanka has always been a place of LOVE, like it is now. It was selected as the best place to travel by Lonely Planet in 2019 and on January 7, 2020 CNN selected Sri Lanka as one of the top 20 places to travel in 2020.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Colombo is the commercial capitol of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a tiny island situated close to India, sometimes known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has been suffering from a war, which spanned for about 30 years and obtained peace in 2009.Colombo has been engaged in international trade for more than 2000 years. Colombo is the home to all the main races in Sri Lanka Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, and to all the main faiths Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam. The name ‘Colombo’, might have been introduced by Portuguese in 1505. The Dutch controlled Colombo after Portuguese and the British took over it in 1796. Till Sri Lanka obtained independence in 1948, it was under British rule. Sri Lanka has a written history of more than 2500 years and there is evidence that modern humans arrived in Sri Lanka 28,000 BCE.
Colombo has Sri Lanka’ s busiest and one of the Worlds Top 25 ports, which can handle an annual cargo tonnage of 31 Million. Colombo Metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 Million people, roughly about 25% of the total population of Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka has agricultural roots and still a major portion of Export income comprises Tea, Rubber and Coconut related exports. USA is the largest export partner and responsible for about 25% of total exports of Sri Lanka.
Food plays a major role in Sri Lankans’ lives and Sri Lankan cuisine is famous all around the world. Main food of Sri Lanka is Rice and the curries. We Sri Lankans make curries of vegetables and, fish or meat using coconut milk. At the same time we do not forget to add one green item or a salad. Colombo is becoming densely populated day by day as many from rural areas come to stay in the city. At the same time due to many development projects and Colombo being a tourist attraction, about 300,000 foreigners visit the city.
At the same time Colombo will be the home to Port City Colombo. Port City Colombo is a brand new city development built as an extension of Colombo. Spanning 269 hectares of reclaimed land from the sea, Port City Colombo will be South Asia’s premiere residential, retail and business destination, offering unmatched planned city living along the warm waters of the Indian Ocean
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Sri Lanka is the 40th highest densely populated country in the world and 50% of the country’ s landmass is already being used for agriculture. At the same time country’ s forest cover is around 17% and some estimates that this number can be below 15%. These are alarming numbers for any country. So literally we have no room for any de forestation for agriculture. Furthermore , rainfall irregularities are causing the output.
Drinking water is becoming scarce and day by day it is becoming a big issue. The Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC) is gravely concerned by increasing reports of serious health problems resulting from unsafe drinking water in Sri Lanka, pointing to the failure of the government to protect and fulfil the right to access to safe drinking water for the country's population. Out of the 25 districts in the country, more than 15 districts are seriously affected, at present. The country uses lot of pesticides and these have influenced the drinking water with high fluoride levels.
Ayala Et al (2017) says “A total of 1,304 well water samples from Sri Lanka were analyzed to assess the potential risk of drinking water to human health. Fluoride concentration of more than 1.0 mg/L was found in 20% of the wells, especially in the dry zone where CKDu is prevalent. Fluoride is a suspected cause of CKDu in the region. Nitrate concentrations of more than 50 mg/L were recorded in 2.2% of the wells in areas with intense agricultural activity. Arsenic concentrations of more than 10 µg/L were found in 0.9% of the wells. Contaminated well water could pose a potential risk to human health.” CKDu is Chronic Kidney Diseas. In some parts of Sri Lanka it has been observed that the cases of CKDu is high as 22%.
With the commercialization of agri businesses, it is hard for the public to find pesticide free green vegetables. Although Sri Lankans had a green leafy item for their every day meals, it has now become a burning question for them. Especially parents with little kids facing this issue; how can we include a healthy green leafy vegetable to our kid’ s meal?
Agriculture was the main source of export income for Sri Lanka until when apparel industry took over in the nineties. This was mainly due to exports of Tea, Rubber and Coconut. Although Sri Lanka produces about 1,300,000 Metric Tons of vegetables for the local market about 400,000 Metric Tons get wasted, mainly due to post harvest losses. At the same time harvest cannot be predicted due to irregularities in rainfall. In some seasons farmers have no option but to suicide. Sri Lankan farmer community is the most vulnerable and under privileged community. Although agriculture sector employs about 26% of the total labor force it contributes only 18% to the GDP.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Indoor Hydroponic systems use vertical space compared to traditional agriculture and can go up to 10 to 20 levels depending on height of the building. We can use abandoned factory spaces and extra space in already existing buildings such as houses, temples and churches, cooperative buildings, schools etc. So this will not have impact on the land usage and deforestation for agriculture.
In hydroponic methods we use 90% to 95% less water compared to open field farming. Thus saving water and as this is a closed loop system water will not contaminate the drinking water resources outside.
The price of vegetable in Sri Lanka moves on a “W” curve. That is from Jan to March it will go down. And it will start rising again in March April till June and so on and so forth. This is mainly due to effects of rainfall. As Indoor units are not governed by rainfall we can keep a standard price throughout the year without any price fluctuations.
And we can reduce and eliminate post harvesting losses by growing according to demand. As the cycle time of a growth cycle is 6 weeks we can run these farms like a typical factory, with very minimal or zero waste. We can grow based on a purchase order rather than growing what we want.
Furthermore households can keep these indoor units and grow their own food and the additional stuff they can sell on the Digital Platform. Furthermore they can reach to global companies who want to buy 100% harmless food through this initiative. As the food is 100% traceable, the global companies do not have any issue in buying from these Indoor Hydroponic farms.
As these Indoor Hydroponic farms uses high tech grow lights and other automated process that uses AI, the output can be calculated well in advance. As the farmer can control the inputs the output can be defined well before. Ex: We can grow low potassium lettuce varieties for people with Kidney problems. Basically food can be our medicine.
The millennials who pass out from universities don’t have to migrate to other countries looking for jobs as high tech farms will be good places for them to use their knowledge in a purposeful way.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Our intention is to find a better, transparent, environmentally friendly method to feed Colombo and its visitors with 100% harmless food which can be traceable. Whether it is East or West , we just have this one planet. By 2050 the planet will inhabit 10 Bn people. Like Richard Quest said in his lecture in Sri Lanka “ How can we give the same feeling ?” or the same experience when the population rise. Day in day out environment is affected various things done by humans mainly. There can be environmental disasters sometimes, which we might not be able to control. But there are lot of things we can control.
We can find new methods for housing and feeding of this rising population. We plan to include and make whoever who have some space, to grow for food for themselves. And the excess can be sold via a common Internet platform. Depending on their capability they can get involve. Ex: If a school has an abandoned building which they don’t want to use they can convert this to a modern AI enabled Indoor Vertical Farm.
A picture of the pilot model is attached for your reference. A unit like this can produce up to 30 to 60 kilos or more of fresh pesticide free, fungicide free leafy greens in a month. Depending on the size available of a particular community member we can decide the size of the farm. If a Large Food company can find bigger spaces we can multiply these modular structures to fit the size of the big building. With involvement of the Agriculture Ministry and Primary Industries Ministry we can identify the farmers who want to get involved and get them onboard.
Big or small these farmers will be connected to customers via a common Internet based platform where customers can see who grows what. Based on the need of the buyer they can order online from these farmers who are listed on the platform. And the same time farmers can see which orders are coming up and grow those crops so they will eliminate post-harvesting losses. The universities in Sri Lanka produce graduates with high IQ levels and technological knowledge, whom can be part of this mega project to develop automated AI based equipment to monitor the growth cycles and do forecasting. Colombo University can get involve in providing the necessary guidance. Infact they guided us in the pilot project too. The artificially controlled environment will make sure that the plants will get the optimum conditions for a better output in terms of quality and quantity.
Furthermore agri graduates from Peradeniya University can use their knowledge to grow food, which can act as medicine; medicinal food. Furthermore these food will be grown without usine any pesticide of fungicides thus making it 100% Harmless.
So this platform will have details such as order details and production details. In each and every Indoor Hydroponic Unit there will be cameras where customers can see how their crop is grown. Using a barcode system B2B and B2C customers can find out where their food is grown and how. We will do constant audits to make sure that these farms are adhering to the quality standards they should maintain. And any customer can visit the site remotely at any given time via WWW. This will be 100% Traceable.
The program can be run including schools , religious places, abandoned factories, univeristies, Coopertive societies etc
Although different food may weigh the same it is important to look at the calorie factor too. Not by 2050 but by 2027 the world will see a deficit of 214 trillion calories according to Sara Menker of Gro Intelligence . That is equaling to 379 Billion Big Macs. And that is more Big Macs than MacDonalds has ever produced. So you can imagine how soon we should act and how suitable this solution would be.Sri Lanka is still home to many wildlife which we can save to the future generations. We can save their habitat by adopting these new technologies and passing that information to farmer communities. Let’ s make this positive change as a team. This can transform the farmer communities and it will enable them for the future.
What better way to love the world than providing it with 100% Harmless and 100% Traceable food system, from the people of 2020 to the people of 2050.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?