“Towards Food Sovereignty through Sustainable Agriculture” The 15th Annual Research Symposium

The 15th Annual Research Symposium (ARS) of the Faculty of Agriculture (FoA), Rajarata University of Sri Lanka (RUSL) was held on Thursday, February 08, 2024 at its faculty premises. The theme for this year was ‘Towards Food Sovereignty Through Sustainable Agriculture’. The inauguration session held in the morning at the auditorium was graced by the presence of Prof. (Ms.) G.A.S. Ginigaddara, Vice Chancellor of RUSL as the chief guest; Prof. G.V.T.V. Weerasooriya, Dean of the FoA, RUSL; Deans of other faculties of RUSL; Prof. M.G.T.S. Amarasekara, Symposium Coordinator; Dr. Nimal Chandrasiri, Environmental Economist, Former Deputy Director of Central Environmental Authority and current Council Member of RUSL who served as the Keynote Speaker; academics including Professors and Lecturers from FoA, other faculties of RUSL and other Universities; professionals from different research institutes in Sri Lanka; academic-supportive staff; non-academic staff, undergraduate and graduate students of the FoA, RUSL.

The Welcome Address was delivered by Prof. Amarasekara as the coordinator of the symposium and highlighted the great opportunity that the students received through the symposium to present their well-deserved research findings to an audience of eminent scientists. The Vice Chancellor appreciated the hard work of the students to harness the innovations in contemporary topics in agriculture as emerging scientists. The Dean/FoA projected the contribution made by their students through research to solve the agriculture-related issues in the country. Ms. D.M.A.D. Samarakoon, student of the passing out 2017/2018 batch majored in Crop Science shared her experience gained during research training. The video presentation screened highlighted the different areas covered by research students. The symposium proceedings was launched by handing over the CD containing the abstracts of student research to the Vice Chancellor by Dr. L.K.W. Wijayaratne, the Editor-in-Chief of the symposium. Later, the awards for the Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work in 2022 were presented to the selected academics.

Following the inauguration session, the Technical Sessions were held at 11 venues at the FoA, RUSL representing the following eight majoring modules: Agricultural Biology, Agricultural Economics and Extension, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Systems and Management, Animal Production and Technology, Crop Science, Environmental Soil Management, Food and Postharvest Technology. Altogether 131 undergraduate students presented their research findings. In addition, there was a postgraduate session where four MPhil and four MAgri students of the postgraduate program conducted by the FoA, RUSL presented their research findings.

The closing ceremony was held in the evening of the same day at the auditorium of the FoA, RUSL. Prof. Weerasooriya/Dean and Prof. Amarasekara/Symposium coordinator chaired that session. The most outstanding 8 student presenters selected from the 8 majoring modules were awarded medals and certificates at this occasion. In addition, the winners and participants of 3MT competition were awarded medals and certificates. The day’s proceedings came to an end with the address by Prof. G.V.T.V. Weerasooriya, Dean, by recapitulating the important events of the day while congratulating the passing out batch of students on their successful completion of the degree program at the FoA, RUSL.