Sri lanka News – The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned Sri Lanka of an acute food shortage due to bad harvest seasons and called for immediate food assistance and livelihood programmes.
In a new report, the FAO and WFP estimate 6.3 million Sri Lankans are facing moderate to severe acute food insecurity due to a 50 percent drop in food grains and a decrease in imports due to foreign exchange shortage.
The organisations expect the situation to worsen mainly during October 2022 to February 2023 if immediate livelihood and life-saving assistance is not provided.
“In order to avert a further deterioration of food security conditions and to support restoration of agricultural production, livelihood assistance targeting smallholder farmers should remain a priority,” Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative in Sri Lanka, said in a statement.
“With around 30 percent of the population depending on agriculture, improving the production capacity of farmers will ultimately boost the resilience of the agricultural sector, reduce import requirements amid shortages of foreign currency reserves and avert the rise in hunger.”
The report has found that the paddy production for 2022 is forecast at 3 million metric tons.
“The lowest level since the 2017 drought-affected harvest, mostly due to low yields following reduced application of fertilizers,” the report noted.
“Months into this crippling economic crisis, families are running out of options – they are exhausted,” Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, WFP Representative and Country Director in Sri Lanka, said.
Siddiqui said more than 60 percent of families are eating less, and eating cheaper, less nutritious food.
“This comes at a time when financial constraints have forced the government to scale back on nutrition programmes, such as school meals and fortified food to mothers and undernourished children,” Siddiqui said.
He added that WFP’s top priority will be to provide immediate food and nutrition assistance to the most at-risk communities to prevent a further deterioration of their nutrition. (Colombo/Sep14/2022)