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Dr. (Ms) W.M.U.K. Rathnayake

The Best Scientist of the Year 2022

Dr. (Ms) W.M.U.K. Rathnayake started her primary education at Kumbukwewa Maha Vidyalaya. She qualified for university entrance from Ibbagamuwa Central College. She graduated from the University of Peradeniya with B.Sc. Agriculture in 1993 and obtained her Master’s Degree in Natural Resources Conservation from the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 1999. She obtained her Ph.D. in Geo-informatics from the University of Peradeniya in 2019.

She joined the Department of Agriculture in 1996 and was stationed at the Field Crops Research and Development Institute, Mahailluppallama as a Research officer, in the field of Soil and Water Management. In 2006, she assumed duties at the Rice Research and Development Institute, Bathalagoda. Then she was promoted as Principal Agriculture Scientist (Soil Science) in 2017 and served as an Additional Director at Rice Research and Development Institute from 2018 to 2020.

During the last 10 years, she was able to release 6 technologies related to the field of water management, soil fertility, and GIS to the farming communities in Sri Lanka. These includes
    1. Alternate Wetting and Drying techniques in paddy cultivation
    2. Map-based fertilizer recommendation for rice
    3. Reclamation of paddy cultivating soils based on Soil maps
    4. Phosphorous fertilizer application in alternative seasons in rice cultivation
    5. Parachute cultivation technology with Phosphorous Treated Seedlings in rice
    6. Soil test kit-based P & K fertilizer application and correction of soil pH in rice cultivation

She was the Focal Point for Specialized Expert System for Agro-Meteorological Early Warning System (SESAME). And she worked as the convener of the FAO project on Irrigation and water management in paddy fields in Sri Lanka. She served as the Working Group Coordinator for Soil and Water Management, Natural Resources, and Plant Nutrient Management.

She worked as the Assistant Secretary (2018 – 2019) and Editor (from 2019 to date) of the International Network of Water Ecosystems of Paddy Fields (INWEPF).

She has more than 40 Research Publications on water management, soil science, and Geo-informatics related to rice cultivation.

During the last 10 years, she has received NRC Merit Award for Scientific Research in 2017. She was a member of the most outstanding rice project in AFACI member countries in 2015, and she received the Best Presenter award of the ASDA in 2014 in the Soil and Water Management Category. She received the president’s award for Scientific Publication. Moreover, her work in the field of agriculture was commended by the Director General of Agriculture in 2021.