Symposium on Agrobiodiversity for climate change adaptation, food and nutrition

Biodiversity for food and nutrition (BFN) project and Biodiversity for Adaptation to climate change project successfully organized the national symposium on Agrobiodiversity for climate change adaptation,food and nutrition on 23rd and 24th May 2019 at Plant Genetic Resources Centre,Gannoruwa.

Event was organized with the main objective of gathering and compiling up information with relevance to agrobiodiversity under seven broad themes as Identification, conservation and valuation, Sustainable use of traditional Knowledge, Impact on ecosystem services, Agrobiodiversity for food security, nutrition, human health and livelihood development, Marketing and value chains, and Agrobiodiversity for policies economics and industrial opportunities. A total of 63 abstracts were received and 49 abstracts were selected under a rigorous evaluation by 02 peer reviewers. Among the selected abstracts 23 were presented orally and 26 were presented as poster presentations.

Inaugural session held on 23rd May. Dr Toby Hodgkin, Honourary Research fellow from Bioversity International, Italy attended as the Chief Guest in the Inaugural session. Prof. Gamini Senanayake delivered the key note speech of the inaugural session on Building food sovereignty through sustainable agriculture. Dr.RSK Keerthisena, Additional director General of the Department of Agriculture, Mrs RHMP Abeykoon,Director Biodiversity, Ministry of Mahaweli development & Environment, Directors of the department of Agriculture, Deans and professors from Universities, Research professionals from the elite research institutes graced the inaugural ceremony. An eye catching video was also displayed on BFN & BACC project highlights and key activities which gained much attention of the gathering.

Invited presentation session was conducted with the participation of key resource persons of the projects composed of Dr Toby Hodgkin, Prof.Renuka Silva, Dr.Gamini Samarasinghe, Prof. Jeewika Werahewa. Session made a platform for discussion on agrobiodiversity towards climate change adaptation, Food and nutritional security, Balanced diets and human nutrition and updating of the national action plan for conservation and sustainable utilization of agrobiodiversity in Sri Lanka.

The symposium composed of 5 technical sessions as Agrobiodiversity for food and nutrition, Agrobiodiversity for identification, conservation and valuation and sustainable use of traditional knowledge which was held on 23rd May. Agrobiodiversity for Human health & livelihood development, Impact on ecosystem services and climate change adaptation and policies, economies, marketing and value chains and industrial opportunities sessions held on 24th May. Both oral presentations and poster presentations were evaluated by an expert panel of judges in respective areas where best oral and poster presenter was selected in each technical session. Each session was chaired by eminent personnel viz Prof. Gamini Senanayake, Dr Rohan Wijekoon,Prof. Cyril Wijesundara, Prof. Gamini pushpakumara, Dr Toby Hodgkin and Prof. Buddhi Marambe respectively.

Closing session of the symposium was held on 24th May 2019 where Dr Keerthi Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretary (Agri.Technology), Ministry of Agriculture attended as the chief guest. Best poster and best oral presenters of each session were felicitated at the closing ceremony.