Dr. Lasantha Malavige 


The call for tech driven floristry to meet the needs of digital natives

The floriculture sector today
An intense, omni-channel driven and customer centric space.

These channels include
Online, bricks and mortar shops, catalogues and call centres.

The main purpose of a business is
To fulfil customers’ needs and contribute to their happiness – customer centricity is a primary requisite for any business to survive or be relevant.

Three barriers to the growth of floriculture in Sri Lanka
Lack of innovation and creativity, political instability and relatively low purchasing power. 

Short and long-term strategies to overcome these barriers
Products for different market segments, value for money through increased productivity and elimination of waste.

Anything else
More emphasis on exports and expanding to international markets.

Low purchasing power can be addressed through
Long-term strategies. 

Innovation and creativity are essential because
They lead to better living standards and contribute to societal happiness through limited resources. 

The future of the local floriculture sector
Netizens will overtake citizens in terms of consumption.

The floriculture sector must rise to these changes by
Increasing its online presence and integrating web based businesses with retail stores.

Three strengths of the local floriculture sector
Strategic location, diverse weather conditions and the ability to grow a wide range of flowers locally.

This gives Sri Lanka a competitive advantage because
We can export cut flowers and earn valuable foreign exchange.

The main threat to floral retail
The unregulated import of fresh flowers.

Adverse effects of smuggling fresh flowers
They bypass plant quarantine procedures, and introduce pests and diseases – these destroy the floriculture sector and affect the agriculture industry.

What more
The dumping of excess products from other countries can destroy local growers as they will not get the right price for their produce.

Illegal import of flowers must be curbed through
Serious action taken by Sri Lanka Customs, National Plant Quarantine Service, Ministry of Agriculture and other law enforcement authorities.

The local floriculture market in a nutshell
It is still immature with a limited number of organised businesses in operation.

Improvements to sector competitiveness
The government should identify the floriculture sector as an im-portant contributor to GDP and foreign exchange.

And also
A little support will generate huge returns in the medium to long terms.

The global floriculture market in a nutshell
The market is worth about US$ 91 billion and is spread mainly across the US and Europe.

And the fastest growing market is
Asia – particularly China, and South and Southeast Asia.

Three new prospective customer segments
Apartment dwellers, impulse customers – given the rapid growth of modern trade – and the gifting segment.

Three evolving consumer trends or behaviours in the floriculture sector
An increasing shift to trusted and reliable brands, regular use of flowers in offices and homes, and the use of e-commerce and phones to place orders.

Productivity is affecting industrial and economic growth
Yes, we need to improve our productivity and efficiency as a nation. 

Corruption is affecting industrial and economic growth
Yes, eliminating or drastically reducing corruption is crucial.

Reducing corruption can be achieved through
Strict action against corrupt individuals – irrespective of their positions.

The future of the global floriculture sector
Consumers shifting to omni-channel offerings.

Competition drives innovation

Sri Lanka’s competitiveness in a nutshell
The country is strategically located with capable and trainable human resources, and rapidly developing infrastructure.

Beyond this
We experience diverse weather conditions, which is ideal for different varieties of flowers.

The impact of the digital age on Sri Lanka
Present digital trends have created knowledge bases and made information accessible to everyone, thereby creating new opportunities for many.

And the impact of social media on the world
Social media has transformed how humans think and behave – both positively and negatively.

The floriculture sector in five years’ time
Businesses with omni-channel offerings that adopt technology including AI with a customer
centric approach will thrive.

What more
Sri Lanka can become a flori-culture hub in South Asia.

Mantra for success
Exceed customer expectations in a consistent and sustainable manner through continuous innovation.

Lasantha is the Chairman and Managing Director of Lassana Flora
– Compiled by Lashani Ramanayake