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Message of Secretary - Mr. W. Sakalasooriya

Secretary - Mr. W. Sakalasooriya It is a privilege to send this message on the occasion of the launching of new website by the Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy. I would like to congratulate the Council for initiating this activity to foster agricultural research in the Country. I have no doubt that providing of agriculture related information will lead to the development of a dynamic and vibrant scientific community in the Sri Lankan national agricultural research system.

Agricultural research is the key to development of the agricultural sector of any country. Recognizing the importance of agricultural research, the Ministry and the Council are in the process of developing appropriate research strategies to provide answers to the urgent problems facing the agricultural sector. Agricultural research conducted since Independence has yielded results in several fields, although the main impacts have been in the development of high yielding rice varieties. In the other crops the research impacts are not so spectacular and needs further research. The research for conservation of natural resources has been completely neglected. It is necessary to understand the present status of the agricultural infrastructure and the variant stakeholders who are involved in this sector when designing research programmes. It is only by adopting such procedures that the outputs of research will benefit them. Therefore, research should be focused on prioritized areas of prime importance that will enhance productivity and provide technologies to alleviate poverty widespread among the marginalized people living in the rural areas. The research strategy should focus on the improvement of domestic agricultural sector so that most of the food requirements could be met within the country without depending on imports.

To achieve the best of the research investment, the primary task would be to develop qualified and skilled human resources. It is necessary to ensure a critical mass of scientists for different fields of the national agricultural research system to maintain credibility and undertake productive research. The Council in collaboration with the Ministry have developed several overseas short and long term training programmes for the scientists of the agricultural sector. These involve training at M.Sc and Ph.D level in specific fields to support agricultural development. Plans are also ahead to expand the training opportunities to selected countries for training scientists in priority disciplines based on the changing trends of agriculture, particularly the commercialization of agricultural enterprises. It is important for Sri Lanka to develop capacity in different field due to its massive potential to enhance food supplies not only to meet the domestic demand but also for imports.

I am very pleased that the Council has developed a strategic vision for agricultural development with forward-looking policies for the generation of agricultural technologies. I hope this website will provide useful information to the scientists, stakeholders and policy makers who are dedicated and committed to the agricultural production.

Mr. W. Sakalasooriya
Ministry of Agriculture

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