Profile of Dr. Ajantha De Silva

Profile 

Dr. Ajantha De Silva PhD.
Director (NRMC)
Department of Agriculture
Sri Lanka

Official Address :
Natural Resources Management Centre
Department of Agriculture

Peradeniya
Sri Lanka

Email :
ajandes@gmail.com 

Telephone :
+94 81 2388 331

Personal Website :

Academic & Professional Qualifications
  • BSc. (Agriculture) Hons, 1983, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • Ph.D. Crop Physiology, 1994, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA
  • Diploma in Crop Improvement (1987), International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India
Appointments
  • Director General of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka
  • Assistant Secretary (Development), Ministry of Agriculture, Sri Lanka
Awards Received
  • Recipient of the “2000 START Young Scientist Award” for the South Asia Region, presented by the International IHDP, IGBP and WCRP secretariat, 2000 Florida Avenue, NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20009, USA.
  • Best scientist of the year award – Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka – 2009
  • NRC Merit Award for Scientific publication, 2013
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 1999
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2000
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2003
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2005
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2005
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2006
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2007
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2009
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2011
  • His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Research Award 2015
  • Global award for agriculture in 2017 from RDA, Republic of Korea for the commitment and contribution to global agricultural technology cooperation
Publications in refereed journals
  1. Senanayake R.L., M.W. Weerakoon, U.R. Sangakkara (2015), Effect of N and K mineral fertilizers on growth and yield of water yam (Dioscorea alata). Annals of the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture, 17: 120-123
  2. Kumararathna M.J.M.P., M.W. Weerakoon, J. B. Choon, A.M. Perera and R.R.P.S. Ariyawansa(2015). Genotype x environment interaction and stability analysis for promising mungbean (Vigna radiate (L) lines.  Annals of the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture, 17: 88-91
  3. Piyasiri C.H., M.W. Weerakoon, D.M.N. Dissanayake, R.S.K. Keertisena, T.K. Illengakoon, W.M.U.S. Geetika, R. Walisinghe, S.A. Senavirathne, J.M.N.P. Somarathne and M.D. Abesundera (2015). Bg 251 A drought tolerant short age rice variety for moisture stressed rainfed areas. Annals of the Sri Lanka Department of Agriculture, 17: 43- 46.
  4. Sarath P. Nissanka, Asha S. Karunaratne, Ruchika Perera, M. W. Weerakoon, Peter J. Thorburn and Daniel Wallach (2015). Calibration of the phenology sub-model of APSIM-Oryza: going beyond goodness of fit.  Environmental modelling and software, 70: 128-137
  5. Weerakoon W.M.W and W.M. Ranjala Kumari (2015). History, present status and future directions of maize research and development in Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the 12th Asian Maize Conference and Expert Consultation on “Maize for Food, Feed, Nutrition and Environmental Security”. October 30 – November 01, 2014, Thailand, 287-296
  6. Weerakoon W.M.W., M.M.P. Mutunayake, C. Bandara1, A.N. Rao, D.C. Bhandari and J.K Ladha (2011). Direct-Seeded Rice Culture in Sri Lanka:  Lessons from farmers. Field Crop Research. 121, 53-63
  7. Weerakoon WMW, Priyadarshani TNN, Piyasiri CH and LC Silva (2010). Impact of water saving irrigation systems on water use, growth and yield of irrigated lowland rice. Annals of the Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka 2010. 12:213-222
  8. Weerakoon WMW., Maruyama A., Ohba, K. (2008) Impact of humidity on temperature induced grain sterility in rice (Oryza sativa) J of Agro. and Crop Sci., pp 135-140
  9. Weerakoon WMW, Ingram KT and Moss D (2005) Atmospheric CO2 concentration effects on N partitioning and fertilizer N recovery in field grown rice (Oryza sativa) Agriculture Ecosystem & Environment.,108, 342-349
  10. Weerakoon WMW, WAJM de Costa and DS de Z Abeysiriwardena (2005) Physiological responses of Indica rice varieties to increased atmospheric CO2 and temperature, Journal of Agro Meterol. 60(5), 601-604
  11. Weerakoon WMW, Ingram K T and D N Moss (2000) Atmospheric carbon dioxide and fertilizer nitrogen effects on radiation interception by rice. Plant and Soil. 220: 99-106.
  12. Weerakoon WMW, A Abeysekara and C Wijesundera (2000) Agronomic strategies to increase rice yields in Sri Lanka. Annual symposium of the Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka. 2: 435-451
  13. Weerakoon WMW. Olsyzk D. Moss D., 1999. Effect of Nitrogen nutrition on response of rice seedlings to Carbon Dioxide.  Agriculture Ecosystem & Environment, 72(1):1-8,
  14. Weerakoon WMW, (1999) Effect of stocking density and feeding on growth and survival of carp fry in low land rice paddies. Annual symposium of the Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka. 1; 71-78.
  15. De Costa WAJM, Weerakoon WMW, Abeywardena RMI and Herath HMLK (2003) Response of photosynthesis and water relations of rice (Oryza sativa L) to elevated atmospheric CO2 in sub humid zones of Sri Lanka.  J Agronomy and Crop Science, 189; 71-82.
  16. De Costa WAJM, Weerakoon WMW, Herath HMLK and Abeywardena RMI (2003) Response of growth and yield of rice (Oryza sativa L) to elevated atmospheric CO2 in sub humid zones of Sri Lanka. J Agronomy and Crop Science, 189; 83-95.
  17. De Costa, W.A.J.M., Weerakoon, WMW., Chinthaka, K.G.R., Herath, H.M.L.K. and Abeywardena, R.M.I. (2007). Genotypic variation in the response of rice (Oryza sativa ) to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and its physiological basis.  Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 193 (2): 117-130.
  18. De Costa, W.A.J.M., Weerakoon, WMW., Herath, H.M.L.K., Amaratunga, K.S.P. and Abeywardena, R.M.I. (2006). Physiology of yield determination of rice under elevated carbon dioxide at high temperatures in a subhumid tropical climate.  Field Crops Research 96:336-347.
  19. Subasinghe A. Nissanka, NAASP and Weerakoon WMW (2007). Identification of salt tolerant rice varieties at the seed germination stage and its relationship to seed husk thickness and iron absorption. Tropical Agricultural Research, 19, 219-228.
  20. Abeysiriwardena DS de Z, Weerakoon WMW and WMADB Wickramasinghe (2009) System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as a method of stand establishment of rice. American-Eurasian J. Agric. & Environ. Sci. 5(2):189-195
  21. Meththananda KA, WMW Weerakoon, M Fahim and KDSM Joseph (1990). Agronomic practices to increase rice productivity, Rice Congress 1990. Departmet of Agriculture; pp 103-114
  22. Ziska L.H., Weerakoon WMW, O S. Namuco and R. Pamplona (1996), The influence of Nitrogen on the Elevated CO2 response in field-grown rice. Aust. J. plant physiol., 23, 45-52.
  23. Olszyk D., C Wise and WMW Weerakoon (1993) Effect of CO2 and Temperature on five rice cultivars. J. Agr. Met. 48(5):787-790.
Contribution to knowledge by publishing in other publication

Weerakoon W.M.W., T. Abeywickrama, W.A.J.M. de Costa (2010). Out-crossing of heat stress affected spikelet of lowland rice in the sub-humid zone of Sri Lanka and its long-term implications 2 Proceedings of the 3rd International Rice Congress, 8-12 November, 2010. Hanoi, Vietnam

Weerakoon W.M.W., M.P Mutunayake and L.C. Silva (2010). Bridging the yield gap of direct seeded rice culture in Sri Lanka.. Proceedings of the 3rd International Rice Congress, 8-12 November, 2010. Hanoi, Vietnam.

Weerakoon WMW, SN Jayawardena, JBDS Kahadewela, MAPWK Malavi Arachchi S.C. Wanigasuriya and AHG Mitrasena (2010). Meeting challenges to bridge the yield gap of direct seeded rice cultivation in Sri Lanka. Proceedings of the National Rice Symposium, Sri Lanka. 2-3 December 2010, Gannoruwe, Sri Lanka.

Weerakoon W.M.W, W.A.J.M. de Costa and S.P. Nissanka (2010). Climate Change and Rice Industry in Sri Lanka: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies Proceedings of the National Rice Symposium, Sri Lanka. 2-3 December 2010, Gannoruwe, Sri Lanka

Weerakoon W.M.W., T Abeywickrama, WAJM de Costa and A. Maruyama (2009) Out-crossing of heat stress affected spikelets of lowland rice in the sub-humid one of Sri Lanka and its long-term implications. Proceedings of the International workshop on “Challenges for Agro-Environmental research in Monsoon Asia” October 5-9, Tsukuba, Japan.

Weerakoon WMW, Wickramasinghe WMADB, Bandara KMC, Mutunayake MP and Laddha JK (2006). Constraints to maximize production and resource utilization efficiencies of direct seeded lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) in Sri Lanka. Rice Congress 2006, 9 -13 October, New Delhi, India.

Weerakoon W.M.W., Maruyama A., Ohba, K. (2002). Impact of high temperature during flowering on grain formation in Indica and Japonica rice. Proceeding of the meeting on Environmental Engineering in Agriculture, Graduate school, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. August 6th to 8th 2002

Weerakoon W.M.W., Maruyama A., Ohba, K. (2002) Effect of Atmospheric Relative Humidity and Wind on high Temperature induced spikelet fertility of Japonica and Indica rice. Proceedings of the association of Kyushu Agricultural Research Scientists, September 19, 2002, Isahaya, Nagasaki.

Weerakoon WMW (2002) Maximize rice yield through minimizing removal, 2002. Rice Technoguide, Rice Research & Development Institute, Sri Lanka

Weerakoon WMW. (2002) .Water stress Effects, Water management systems Irrigation requirement of rice in Sri Lanka. Rice technoguide, Rice Research & Development Institute, Sri Lanka.

Weerakoon W M W, (1999) Present status and problems of nitrogen fertilizer management in rice in Sri Lanka. In proceedings of the International workshop on innovative nitrogen and other crop management techniques for intensive rice systems of South Asia, Thanjavur, India, 24-27, August 1999.

Mohotti, A. J., Mohotti, K. M., Lankika S.P.C., W. Weerakoon and U.R. Sangakkara (2008) Carbon Dioxide evolution levels in soil and root environment in organic and conventional tea growing systems. Proceedings of the International Forestry and Environment Symposium, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka, 27 – 28 December 2008.

Weerakoon WMW (2008) Future of rice with limited water in Sri Lanka, Proceedings of the Soil Science Society symposium, May 2008.

Weerakoon WMW (1985) Betel cultivation in Kurunegala and Gampaha districts. Krushi, 38-45, 8(2).

Weerakoon WMW (1989) Place of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) in different cropping system in Sri Lanka, International workshop on varietal improvement of chickpea, Pigeonpea and other upland crops in rice based and cropping systems. Kathmandu, Nepal, 19-22 March 1989.

Weerakoon WMW (1990) Performance of Pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) and Ground nut (Arachis hypogaea) under coconut. ICRISAT-AGLN workshop. 21-22 July 1990, Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Weerakoon WMW (2008) Impact of climate change on rice cultivation in Sri Lanka. National workshop on climate change on Agriculture, ISTI, Gannoruwe, May 22, 2008.

Weerakoon WMW, Priyadarshini TNN, Piyasiri CH and LS Silva (2009), Impact of water saving irrigation systems on water use, growth and yield of irrigated lowland rice. Procedings of the “Water. Food security and climate change in Sri Lanka. 9 – 11 June 2009

Positions Held
  • Agronomist, Hatton National Bank, Sri Lanka. (1983)
  • Assistant Lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, (1983 – 1984).
  • Research Fellow, Department of Crop Science, Oregon state University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. (1991 – 1995)
  • Crop leader for Rice, Sri Lanka. Appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Sri Lanka since 1998.
  • Chairman, Agronomy, Physiology and Farm Mechanization working Group, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka from 1998 – 2004
  • National Coordinator, National Coordinated Rice Varietal Improvement Program, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka from 1999 to 2011
  • Member, Board of study, Crop Science – Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya, 2002 to date
  • Member of the teaching panel, Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
  • External examiner, thesis supervisor for postgraduate students – Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
  • External lecturer, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Wayaba, 2002.
  • Link Scientist between Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka (DOASL) and Universities of Sri Lanka since 1999
  • Committee member of the Fertilizer Recommendation Revision Committee for Rice, Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka
  • Chairman, ASDA, 2015
  • National focal Point, AFACI, 2017
Professional Training / Fellowships Outside Sri Lanka
  • Rice Crop Production Training, May to July 1986, Rural Development Administration, Suweon, Republic of Korea
  • Crop Improvement Training, September 1987 to March 1988, International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, India
  • Research Fellow , June – September 1992, USEPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Corvallis, Oregon, USA
    Research Fellow, January 1993 – May 1994, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines (PhD thesis Research on Climate Change)
  • Training on Crop modelling to predict the impact of climate change on rice. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines December 1993
  • JSPS Post Doctoral Research Fellow, January – November 2002 National Agriculture Research Centre for Kyushu and Okinawa Region, Kumamoto, Japan
Workshops / Seminars attended Outside Sri Lanka
  • International workshop on pigeonpea, May 1989, Kathmandu Nepal
  • International Workshop on climate change and Rice, IRRI, Philippines, 14-18 March 1994.
  • International workshop on innovative nitrogen and other crop management techniques for intensive rice systems of south Asia, Thanjavur, India, 24-27 August 1999.
  • SASCOM – APN International workshop on rice research under elevated CO2, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India, 16 – 18 March 2001.
  • International symposium on “Environmental Engineering in Agriculture”, 2002, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan 6 – 8 August 2002
  • International Symposium on Agro meteorology, Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan, 19 – 20, September 2002.
  • International symposium on food production and environmental conservation in the face of global
  • nvironmental deterioration. 7 – 11, September 2004., Fukouka, Japan
  • 2nd International Rice Congress, 9-13 October 2006, New Delhi, India
  • International Symposium on Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia, 25 – 30 August 2008, Dhaka, Bangaladesh.
  • International symposium on “Building Climate Resilience in the Agriculture Sector of Asia and the Pacific” 14 – 15 May 2009, Asian Development Bank (ADB). Manila Philippines.
  • International symposium on “Challenges for Agro-Enviromental Research in Monsoon Asia, Tsukuba, Japan 5-9 October, 2009
  • Workshop on Rural Development for high level officers of AFACI member countries, Republic of Korea, August 7 – 14 2010
  • 3rd International Rice Congress. Hanoi, Vietnam, 8-12 November, 2010.
  • International Maize conference, Thailand, October 30th – November 03rd,2014
  • AGMIP global meeting, Florida, USA, 2014
  • 155th FAO council meeting, Rome, 4th – 9th December 2016
  • 156th FAO council, Rome, 24th – 28th April 2017
  • 157th FAO council, Rome, 4th to 8th December, 2017
Contribution to special programs within and outside Sri Lanka
  1. Co Editor of the ASDA – Annual Symposium of the Department of Agriculture
  2. Co Editor of the Book on “Onion Seed production and crop Husbandry”, Publication by KOPIA, 2015
  3. Member of the review panel for many National and International Journals
    1. Agriculture Ecosystem and Environment (Elsevier, UK)
    2. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge)
    3. Tropical Agriculture Research and Extension (National)
    4. National Science Council Journal (National)
    5. PGIA congress (National).
    6. Annals of the Department of Agriculture (National)
  4. Member of the Board of Study of Crop Science, Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture, Peradeniya.
  5. Visiting Lecturer, Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture on Crop Physiology and Crop Management Technique.
  6. Member of the NSF board on “climate change and food security”
  7. Link scientist to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources on climate change
  8. Member of the special team on Climate change at Ministry of Agriculture.
  9. Coordinator, Agronomy, Physiology and farm mechanization working group – 2000 to 2004
  10. Link Scientist between Peradeniya university and DOA/RRDI – appointed by the Hon Minister of Agriculture and Lands as a member of the “Technical Advisory / working committee” for Rice Research and Development
  11. 1998 – Developed a project proposal for UNDP on “Rice-Based farming systems Development through Aquaculture in Sri Lanka”
  12. 1986-1989 – Cooperator of the Asian Grain Legume Network (AGLN)
  13. 2001 – Visiting lecturer to the Wayaba University of Sri Lanka
  14. 1988 – Developed the Inginimitiya Research site
  15. 1984 to 1990 – Contributed in generating technology for the cultivation of rice and other field crops in coconut based intercropping systems
  16. 1998 – Developed the first Sri Lankan Web site on rice with the collaboration of the University of Moratuwe to mark the “Swarna Jayanthy Exibition”, 1998. – www.rice.ac.lk (not in operation)
Major Projects involved as Principal Investigator
  • FAO Rainfed Rice Research project, 1986 – 1987
  • UNDP project on aquaculture in rice based cropping systems – 1998
  • UNDP – USEPA Project on “Climate Change and Rice” at International Rice Research Institute, Philippines – 1992 – 1994
  • IRRI project on direct seeded rice culture in Sri Lanka – 2005
  • National Rice Variety Improvement program – National coordinator – 1998 – 2011
  • CARP project on “Evaluation of promising rice breeding lines in farmers’ fields over diverse environments and farmer management conditions
  • CARP project on “Impact of increased atmospheric CO2 on growth and yield of rice” – 2002 – 2005
  • GSR (Green super rice) project (IRRI-DOASL) for development of drought resistant varieties, 2009 to 2012.
  • Monitoring heat stress and impact assessment in Sri Lanka with the collaboration of National Institute of Agro Environmental Sciences – NIAES, Japan. 2009 to date
  • Seed Multiplication and Cropping Technology Development for Onion Varieties Sri Lanka (KOPIA Project), 2015 – 2017
  • Ensuring food security through developing climate smart crop varieties and cultivation techniques in Sri Lanka, 2014 to date