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Monday, 28 December 2009

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Dialog Tradenet - GGS in partnership

Set to revolutionise agri market access:

Dialog Telekom, together with Govi Gnana Seva (GGS) launched a service to deliver spot and forward agricultural commodity price information via mobile phones.

Group Chief Executive of Dialog Telekom Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, addressing the gathering at the launch of the mobile-based agri-market information service. Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Minister, Bandula Gunawardena, Director GGS, Dr. Harsha de Silva and CEO of LIRNEasia Prof. Rohan Samarajiva (left).

The service is based on Dialog's TradeNet Platform - and derives on-line agri-produce price information from three Dedicated Economic Centres at Dambulla, Meegoda and Narahenpita.

These three markets are just the first step in this program, with more sites and sectors identified to be added in the future. GGS has hitherto played the lead role in collecting and disseminating spot prices of agricultural produce at the Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre operated under the aegis of the Ministry of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs.

In partnership with Dialog's TradeNet Platform this benchmark price information will now be available to farmers scattered around the island.

Group Chief Executive of Dialog Telekom PLC, Dr Hans Wijayasuriya said "they are proud to partner GGS in this initiative of significant importance to the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka.

Dialog is committed to the overarching paradigm of positioning ICT in general, and the mobile phone in particular, as pervasive enablers of sustainable development, and economic and social expansion.

We are confident that the Dialog TradeNet will deliver on these objectives and make a positive contribution to the lives of consumers and producers from across Sri Lanka."

Founding Director of GGS, Dr Harsha de Silva, said they have spent many years working towards this day as it has been our firm belief that eliminating poverty among agricultural households requires moving farmers from purely subsistence agriculture to some level of agri-business.

The first step in this endeavour is to have efficient agricultural markets. The research we conducted at LIRNEasia helped us in understanding how to do this by bringing in ICTs to eliminate information asymmetries and thereby reduce transaction costs along the farmer value chain. Now this system is live, we hope to see large numbers of farmers using the actionable information to move themselves from subsistence to some form of agribusiness.

Our ultimate objective is to create an inclusive yet distributed agriculture exchange that will help the millions of small farmers move out of poverty. We wish to acknowledge the support of all who have helped GGS for the last seven years and look forward to the support of others who share this vision.

Dialog Tradenet is a repository for national-level market information built on a suite of digital technologies.

TradeNet encompasses the collation, comparison, qualification and subsequent dissemination of trade enablement information to large numbers of stakeholders minimising information arbitrage.

The service is immediately available to Dialog's six million-plus subscriber base from across all nine provinces of Sri Lanka.

GGS is a pioneering initiative under the aegis of the eSri Lanka initiative of the Government of Sri Lanka. GGS was originally funded by the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka and subsequently by private donations.

With the new partnership, Dialog Telekom will assume the primary responsibility of funding the operation with the objective of creating sustainable business models for the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka. Chronic volatility of vegetable prices due to unplanned cultivation leading to farmer poverty, demonstrated the critical importance of linking cultivation with sale, and the initiative to provide forward bids and offer prices is the first step in infusing to bridge this gap.


Winners of the Young Computer Scientists' tournament rewarded

The award presentation ceremony of the Young Computer Scientists' Tournament organized by the Federation of Information Technology Sri Lanka (FITIS) for the seventh occasion was held at the Navarangahala, Colombo, recently.

The winners with Education Minister Susil Premajayantha and other guests.

The Federation of Information Technology of Sri Lanka had organized this Tournament in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Computer Society of Sri Lanka and the Software Engineering Industry Association of Sri Lanka. Holding this tournament this year, named by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Year of ICT and English is a special occasion. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha, University of Colombo School of Computing Director Doctor Ruwan Weerasinghe and Sri Lanka Telecom Chairperson Leisha de Silva Chandrasena were the chief guests.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Software Engineering Industry Association of Sri Lanka Chairman Govin Nangrani said that the Software Engineering Industry Association of Sri Lanka and its' members will work tirelessly to establish an unbeatable software manufacturing industry at this point of time when the country is stepping into a new era of economic prosperity.

A knowledge-based economy is emerging in the world, and it is very important to find the IT whiz kids hidden in the various parts of Sri Lanka and this tournament is organized yearly mainly for that purpose, he said.

The Software Engineering Industry Association of Sri Lanka, Young Computer Scientists' Tournament Project Chairman Jiffry Moulaffer said that over 1000 contestants participated in this tournament this year, and looking at the projects of the winners and participants, we can overcome the challenges pertaining to ICT in any section of the country.

The winner of the National Schools Senior Section was C.S.C. Wijetunga of St. Anne's College, Kurunegala and the winner of the Junior Section was R. Nilafdeen of Bishop's College, Colombo.

The winner of the International Schools Senior Section was A.H.G.U. Silva of the Lexicon International School, Kandy. He was selected to represent Sri Lanka at the APICTA tournament to be held in Melbourne, Australia.


Mobitel to welcome British tourists arriving in Sri Lanka

The British High Commission in Colombo has entered into a partnership with Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, the National Mobile Service Provider to convey a welcome message to the British nationals visiting Sri Lanka.

This SMS based welcome message is sent to travellers on their arrival to the island from Britain.

It contains contact details for the British High Commission in Colombo, enabling travellers to rapidly make contact with High Commission staff in case of need.

The British High Commission in Colombo provides many services for British nationals including issuing of British passports, birth and death certificates and offering assistance in times of difficulty.

Around 94,000 visitors from Britain arrive in Sri Lanka annually on both business and pleasure. Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, whilst positioning the customer at the centre, through the delivery of optimum quality of service, higher levels of customer care, convenience and interaction, partnered with the British High Commission to extend its platform of care and service to the British citizens.

Speaking on the partnership between the British High Commission in Colombo and Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, the High Commissioner stated that "Most British visitors to Sri Lanka enjoy a relaxing and peaceful holiday.

But on rare occasions visitors need urgent assistance from the High Commission, for example if they lose their passport or are involved in an accident. This SMS service will make it much quicker and easier for British nationals to find our contact details when they really need them. I am very pleased that we have set up this service with Mobitel and grateful to them for their support."

Chairperson, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, Leisha de Silva Chandrasena said, "At Mobitel we continuously strive to keep the customers' wellbeing at the epicentre of our service offerings and value innovations.

Therefore we are indeed delighted and honoured to be partnering the British High Commission of Colombo in this endeavour, which helps extend our care proposition to the British inbound travellers as well.

The message provides the British National with a much-valued first point of contact with the High Commission and also instils a sense of security. I take this opportunity to commend the British High Commission for his farsightedness in taking a pro-active approach in caring for the British nationals."


China issues new rules on Internet domain names

China's Internet watchdog issued a new set of rules on domain name registration this week in a bid to curb pornography and illegal content.

According to Liu Jie, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the regulations posted on its website Sunday beef up existing rules on domain name registration.

The measures will cut off Internet services to those websites that have not registered with the ministry, Liu said.

They also aim to improve a "blacklist system" to prevent banned domain name owners from reapplying for a new domain name, he added. It was not clear if the new rules apply to overseas websites but many such sites are already blocked by China's Internet authorities, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a host of media and news websites and blogs.

China maintains strict censorship of the Internet, an effort that has become known as the "Great Firewall of China". In recent weeks, Chinese regulators closed down hundreds of video sharing websites while ordering sites to delete all links to downloaded films or TV series, the China Business News reported earlier this month. AFP

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