The 15th Annual Research Forum (ARF) of Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) was held on the 29th of April 2022 at the Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka as a hybrid event under the theme of “Post-pandemic Economic Recovery in Sri Lanka”.
SAEA which was established in 1992 is the national professional organization for practicing agricultural economists in Sri Lanka. Its ARF is the forum where agricultural economists from all over the country gather annually to share their new research findings, knowledge, and expertise while providing a greater opportunity for networking.
The inaugural session of the 15th ARF was graced by Professor Jayantha Lal Rathnasekara, Vice-Chancellor of Uva Wellassa University as the chief guest. At the inception of the inaugural session of the 15th ARF, Dr. Sampath Dharmadasa, President of the SAEA welcomed all the invites and participants to the ARF giving an overview of the SAEA and the ARF.
Professor Jayantha Lal Rathnasekara, Vice-Chancellor of Uva Wellassa University addressed the gathering and added his best wishes for the success of the event. He further mentioned that agricultural economists, professionals, and scientific community can make a significant contribution to the economic recovery of Sri Lanka. Prof. Saman K. Herath, Dean, Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture also addressed the gathering highlighting the importance of restoring the agriculture sector. Dr. Shashika D. Rathnayaka, Secretary of the SAEA, delivered the Vote of Thanks at the end of the inaugural session.
The ARF was enriched with a panel discussion on the Current Economic Crisis of Sri Lanka (Moderator: Dr. Wasanthi Wicramasinghe, Senior Research Fellow, Gamani Corea Foundation, Speakers: Prof. Prema-chandra Athukorala, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University; Prof. Sisira Jayasuriya, Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability, Monash University, Australia; Professor Jeevika Weerahewa, University of Peradeniya; Dr. Herath Gunatilake, Former Professor of the University of Peradeniya, Former Director of Asian Development Bank).
The panel discussion was followed by a guest speech on ‘Russia Ukraine crisis and the impact on Commodity markets, supply chains in Sri Lanka’ by Dr. Nihal Pitigala who is a well-known Trade Economist.
Next, the winners of the 11th Undergraduate Research Competition were announced and Professor Piyasena Abygunawardhane, founder of SAEA and the sponsor of the undergraduate competition addressed the gathering and added his warm wishes to the winners of the competition.
Gold Medal: Ms. Kirupthika Jeyanthiran, University of Peradeniya
1st Runner-up: Mr. I.N. Darshana, Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka
2nd Runner-up: Ms. G.H. Udagedara, University of Peradeniya
After the lunch break, the contributory paper session started and agricultural/applied economists representing different universities and research institutes presented their novel research findings. This session was chaired by Dr. Manoj Thibbotuwawa, Research Fellow and Head of the Agricultural Economics Policy Unit, Institute of Policy Studies. The evaluation panel consisted of Prof. Thusitha Kumara, Uva Wellassa University, and Prof. M. Esham, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka.