Association of Sri Lanka Growers of Plant Tissue Culture (ASGROPTIC) was formed as an outcome of the RIC (Research Innovation and Commercialization) grant offered by World bank through AHEAD Operations in 2019. The RIC grant: ‘Commercialization of Low Cost (CSUP) Micropropagation for Export and Production of Improved Ornamental Plants through Genetic Modifications’, was offered to the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, SLIIT and the Principal Investigator is Emeritus Professor Sriyani E. Peiris.
ASGROPTIC was formed in order to share expert knowledge with growers of plant tissue culture, promote horticulture export in Sri Lanka by encouraging more enterprises to step in to export market, increase the economical status of families and to encourage women to engage in business to uplift the social status of their families.
Prof. Colin Peiris, Director – Academic Development & Quality Assurance of SLIIT is the founder President of the association. ASGROPTIC was formed with 17 founder members and now the membership has grown up to 21 members in the tissue culture field in Sri Lanka. The 17 founder members are: SLIIT (Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology), Natural Foliage, Ranmal Flora (Pvt) Ltd., Ramya Horticulture (Pvt) Ltd., Hayleys Agro Biotech (Pvt) Ltd., Aruna Plant & Agrotech (Pvt) Ltd., Dakshina Plant Nursery & biotech (Pvt) Ltd., Canary Biotech (Pvt) Ltd., Evergreen agriculture (Pvt) Ltd., Greengrow Agriculture (Pvt) Ltd., Siyane Agro Bio-Tech (Pvt) Ltd., Ora Flora Nursery (Pvt) Ltd., Polyzon Industries (Pvt) Ltd., Ruvini Aqua Plants Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., Sound of Anthurium, Nimasha Plants (Pvt) Ltd., Lumbini Plant Nursery (Pvt) Ltd. There are 4 other full members as well: Eastern Horticulture (Pvt) Ltd., Lakmini Orchid (Pvt) Ltd., X Flora Horticulture (Pvt) Ltd and J. C. Biotech (Pvt) Ltd.
ASGROPTIC launched their official website (www.asgroptic.sliit.lk) on Wednesday 3rd February 2021 at SLIIT Malabe Campus. Prof. Lalith Gamage, Vice-Chancellor of SLIIT was the Chief Guest of the website launching ceremony. This event was also graced by Prof. Lakshman Ratnayake – Chairman of SLIIT, Prof. Nimal Rajapkse – Deputy Vice Chancellor of SLIIT and Dr. Malitha Wijesundara – Dean/ Faculty of Humanities & Sciences of SLIIT and EDB officials; Ms. Gayani Wijethilake and Mr. Gayan Weerasinghe. Website was launched after a successful discussion among members of the association and the SLIIT officials.
The association and the website are big steps for SLIIT to enter into research collaborations with industry. This association provides a good platform for all the members / establishments in the field to get expert knowledge and enhance their business opportunities mentioned by Prof. Lalith Gamage in his welcome note. Furthermore, he stated that it is important to get more members in the association and get the involvement of state universities to get more benefits for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) establishments in the sector. He invited members to contact SLIIT for the research related matters and future collaborations. Prof. Colin Peiris, President of the association stated that this a good milestone for the Tissue culture sector in Sri Lanka, as there are 21 leading establishments in the field are currently work with the association.
The website will create a linkage among all the members of the association, and it broadens the knowledge sharing platform. ASGROPTIC website was designed by Mr. Dilanka Nayanajith under the supervision of Mr. Mr. Jagath Wickramarathne, Faculty of Computing.
Ms. Thushari Weerakoon (Treasurer), Ramya Horticulture, Dr. P H R Suraweera (Secretary), Ranmal Flora Pvt. Ltd. and Dr. P.S.S. Perera (Vice-President), Natural Foliage Pvt. Ltd. also shared their inputs about the work done through association and extended their gratitude to SLIIT officials.
Website : http://asgroptic.sliit.lk/
Newspaper article: https://www.sundaytimes.lk/210214/education/sliit-launches-the-officiate-website-for-asgroptic-success-stories-of-ahead-projects-at-sliit-432302.html