Having commenced in 1948, the Faculty of Agriculture was established as a fully-fledged Faculty in 1972. The Faculty has gone through a continuous and a series of transformations, and curriculum revisions, making it the leading higher education institution in agriculture in the country. It has also grown to be the center of excellence in the region. The Faculty is currently providing world class training in Agriculture and Allied Sciences, and offers three degree programs:
Being the leading player in the higher education in agriculture, the Faculty has the best human resources found in the university education system of Sri Lanka. It comprises 132 permanent academic staff (of which 85% holding up to PhDs from world famous leading universities and about 50% are Professors) with exceptional teaching experience, and 250 academic support staff. The Faculty consists of eight Departments of Study (Agricultural Biology, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Extension, Agricultural Economics and Business Management, Animal Science, Crop Science, Food Science and Technology and Soil Science) with well-equipped state of the art laboratories and modern facilities for research in all agricultural and allied fields.
The Faculty has infrastructure for practical training and research facilities at the Livestock Farms at Mawela and Meewathura (Mid country Wet Zone), University Experimental Station at Dodangolla (Mid Country Intermediate Zone) and the Mahailluppallama Sub-campus (Low Country Dry Zone). To support the academic programs as well as the outreach activities, the Faculty has established the Agribusiness Centre, Agriculture Biotechnology Centre and Agriculture Education Unit.
Modern agriculture is about engaging in innovative and cutting-edge research, development and management of activities to deal with the challenges faced by the agricultural sector and natural resources of the country. These challenges include providing safe and nutritious food at affordable prices to meet diverse dietary needs of the growing population (the food crisis), climate change, biodiversity losses, soil degradation and environmental pollution, increasing drought and salinity, and rapidly-changing socio-economic landscapes. The Faculty is unique in providing a sound education to students which blends knowledge and skills on theory and practice of agriculture and allied sciences, social and economic understanding, and carrier guidance and leadership-building through various programs and activities. Maintaining a close staff-student relationship, student-centered self-learning process with an outcome-based approach followed at the faculty, and practical field training programs make the students more integrated, versatile, with positive and critical thinking, team spirit, hands-on experience, interpersonal communication skills and socially concerns. The Faculty also conducts student exchange programs with world recognized leading Universities, allowing the students of the Faculty to have overseas training and experience the world of knowledge. This is provided through over 40 memorandums of understanding signed by the Faculty with the world’s leading Universities.
This is the only Faculty giving a full-time residential training program in practical agriculture, interacting with farm families over an entire semester in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka at its sub-campus and several courses on plantation agriculture. Practical training in animal production is provided in its own livestock field station, and government and private sector organizations. Students are also exposed to the entire value chain of crop and animal-based products, agribusiness and marketing opportunities, self-learning practical activities, new product development, research and food processing in crop and animal based raw material, development of machinery, bio-system engineering, and soil conservation and management techniques.
As time-tested and proven, thanks to the quality and the standard that the Faculty has maintained, the three degree programs offered by the Faculty have opened up many windows of opportunities for the graduates for developing greater professional careers anywhere in the world. The Faculty produces graduates who are almost 100% employed and are not a burden to the University, their parents, and society as a whole. Graduates of the Faculty have access to an impressive array of careers in research in agriculture and related fields, higher education, administration and management in public, private and non-governmental sectors, both within Sri Lanka and overseas. The Faculty is proud that our graduates have reached the top management positions in many key sectors of Sri Lanka and overseas, and act as agents of change and sustainable leaders in society. The world-wide recognition for these three Bachelor’s degrees has provided the platform for Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in reputed overseas universities as well.
The faculty has pioneered in research in all key areas of Agriculture and allied fields, and its research output is one of the highest among Sri Lankan Universities. It has research collaborations with leading national and international research institutes and Universities. The members of the Faculty have been awarded many competitive research grants from national and international funding agencies. Many staff members and students receive presidential awards each year. Students of the Faculty also conduct research in the final semester, which are presented at the ‘Faculty of Agriculture Undergraduate Research Symposium’ each year. Every year, the best research presentation, the best research innovation, the best research brief, the best research video, the best 3-minute presentation (3MP), and the best scientific photograph are selected and awarded a prize. The best overall presenter of the Faculty is awarded a gold medal at the closing session.