32nd PGIA Annual Congress was held as a Virtual Event

The PGIA Annual Congress is a scientific forum for researchers to present, discuss and disseminate their scholarly research findings in Agriculture and allied disciplines to a wider national and international scientific community. The 32nd Annual Congress of the PGIA was held during 19-20 November, 2020 at the postgraduate Institute of Agriculture University of Peradeniya. For the first time this year event was held as a virtual conference, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic situation in the country,

Inaugural session was held on 20 November 2020 with a very limited number of on-ground participation. H.E. Mr. Denis Chaibi, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. The winner of the World Food Prize 2020, Distinguished Professor Ratan Lal, from Ohio State University, USA, delivered the keynote speech on ‘Managing Soils for Addressing Global Environmental Challenges’.

Several other dignitaries including Prof. Upul B. Dissanayake, The Vice Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, Prof. D.K.N.G. Pushpakumara, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Prof. C.M.B. Dematawewa, Director, PGIA addressed the Inaugural Session of the Congress. Professor John Dixon, University of Queensland, Australia and Professor John W Crawford, University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, Glasgow delivered the invited speeches.

It provided an opportunity for postgraduate students and budding scientists to showcase their research findings to an virtual audience comprised of academics, researchers, PGIA alumni and other stakeholders. In this year, 39 oral and 17 poster presentations were made under 11 scientific sessions. Best presenters in each session as wel as the over all best presenter were selected and awarded to promote scholarly work among budding scientists. In addition, to further improve communication skills and effective disseminating scientific findings by budding scientists, four workshops were also held on different topics related to publications and presentations. The Soil Science Society of Sri Lanka also joined with the 32nd Annual Congress with the PGIA and jointly hosted a virtual technical session on 19 November 2020 on “Biochar for improving soil functions”. These workshops and technical sessions were well attended by registered participants.