UN to support food insecure households in Sri Lanka

UN to support food insecure households in Sri Lanka

The United Nations (UN) has assured support for the most vulnerable and food insecure households with severely malnourished children in Sri Lanka.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says 2 500 backyard gardens will be established and capacity-building activities on improved nutritional and dietary practices will be facilitated, to enhance food production and nutrition at the household level.

In a review of its response to the crisis from June to December, the FAO says Sri Lanka witnessed an unprecedented economic crisis, and the situation was exacerbated by political and social turmoil.

Nearly 40 percent of the population of Sri Lanka depend on agriculture as a primary source of income.

“The ongoing multidimensional crisis is posing an enormous threat to their livelihoods and disrupting the national food system. Agricultural production is in a downward trend since mid-2021 due to the unavailability of fertilizers and other essential production inputs; livestock keepers are unable to access feed and basic veterinary supplies; and fishers are unable to access fuel for motorized boats,” FAO said in its latest review.

The review states that the supply of food in local markets shrank during the period under review and food inflation soared, reaching 90 percent in July 2022.

Moreover, four in every ten households experienced a reduction in their incomes, and one in every two households are currently relying on negative coping mechanisms to cope with the lack of food or money to buy it.

The window of opportunity to support Sri Lankan farmers and their communities is narrowly timebound, FAO said.

Immediate action to provide farmers with quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides will enable them to protect their livelihoods and feed their communities.

FAO says it is also critical to provide the most vulnerable farmers, livestock keepers and fishers with cash assistance to enable them to restore their productive assets and fast-track their recovery.

The FAO hopes to provide 201, 148 households (784,477 people) with a total of
10 057 tonnes of urea to enable them to produce approximately 774 000 tonnes of paddy rice. This intervention will primarily target vulnerable farming households in areas that witnessed low yields during the previous Maha season.

It also hopes to provide 53 000 farming households (206 700 people) with unconditional cash transfers (USD 84/household) to cover their basic food and livelihoods needs during the lean season, provide 997000 paddy farming households (3.9 million people) with 36 000 tonnes of triple superphosphate to restore agricultural production during the upcoming 2023 Yala season and provide 5058 vulnerable fishing households (19 727 people) from the most vulnerable districts with unconditional cash transfers (USD 141/household) to enable them to meet their immediate food and nutrition security needs. (Colombo Gazette)

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