The workshop on “Indigenous knowledge for a sustainable Agriculture” was successfully held on 17th of January, 2012. There were 58 participants including Agriculture Research and Production Assistants (ARPAs) and Agriculture Inspectors (AIs) from Matara District. Two resource persons were invited, Prof. Gamini Senanayake and Prof. P L G Alwis who are experts in the field and voice the importance of indigenous knowledge at different forums.
Prof. Mangala De Zoysa (Dean of the Faculty), Dr L M Abeywickrama (Head, Department of Agriculture Economics), Dr (Mrs) Nilantha De Silva, (Senior Lecurer), Mr A L Sandika (Senior Lecurer), Dr (Mrs) Disna Rathnasekara (Head, Department of Biology Cum Advisor, YPARD Sri Lanka), and many other professionals were participated representing the Agriculture Faculty. They actively participated at the discussion sessions in order to direct the discussions fruitfully.
The lecture of Prof. Gamini Senanayake was about the importance of the indigenous knowledge and local ingredients rather than the improved or imported food items. Prof. P L G Alwis delivered his lecture focusing the relevance and application of technology used by our ancestors. It was highly based on technology, irrigation, tools and equipment that had been used in ancient traditional Sri Lankans.
The participants, who are directly involved with farmers at the field level explained about the present status of agricultural practices with respect to indigenous knowledge. Also, they discussed various issues and challenges in the sector. Lengthy discussions were carried out after each lecture that we had to restrict due to time limitation. As per the agenda, we wanted to make them members of YPARD as the last event of the workshop. But, due to certain difficulties we couldn’t get the computer unit of the Faculty for this task. Hence, the workshop was concluded after getting their information to create profiles at least by ourselves, because almost all the participants do not have sufficient accessibility to internet. Some suggestions of the participant are as follows:
Conduct this type of workshops for farmers, especially on the importance of traditional knowledge and techniques and the threat that we are facing with respect to Genetically modified food items
Arrange demonstrations to exhibit the traditional varieties and technologies that can be used in agriculture
Conduct a workshop to get their membership online and to be familiar with internet and email
Do not stop this process, but proceed with more nourishing knowledge on agriculture for filed level officers like them