Sri lanka News – The United States is helping boost agriculture co-operating with the Food and Agriculture Organization, United States Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome Cindy McCain said in a visit to Sri Lanka.
The US is funding small farmers, working with school children and is also giving food aid to vulnerable groups after Sri Lanka’s rupee collapsed from 180 to 360 after two years of money printing, putting food out of reach of low income groups.
“We’re not just giving them the seeds, but we are giving them the tools to be able to support themselves and their families in later years,” McCain said after visiting Revatha Primary school in Haggamuwa today to inspect a US funded FAO project.
“There should be more of these projects. We talked to FAO about just that. I know they’re trying to implement that now.
“So I think you will see a lot more of these projects pop up and a lot more students ready to take action in not just food security but in caring for their own families.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is establishing 100 school gardens in the Kurunegala district as part of a pilot project to promote home gardening and address food insecurity among school children.
FAO provided seed packs, agriculture tools, and informational material for the identified schools in May 2022. Training programs on nutrition-based gardening and entrepreneurship skills for teachers and students
Global food prices are also elevated after the US Fed and European Central Bank printed money triggering the worst commodity boom since the Greenspan-Bernanke bubble which burst in 2009.
Consumer inflation in the US and Europe is now the highest since the early 1980s, when US Fed chief Paul Volcker hiked rates to end the Great Inflation period of the 1970s that came after the US dollar broke its link with gold becoming a pure fiat money. The US Fed is now hiking rates to bring inflation down.
The collapse of the rupee on top of the reserve-currency fired commodity bubble has put food out of reach of (food insecurity) about 6 million Sri Lankan’s according to some estimates.
Food prices rose 93 percent up to August 2022 according to Sri Lanka’ statistics office.
“We just saw a mother of four who couldn’t feed her family at all. The kids went to bed hungry last night. And that’s a common issue here in Sri Lanka,” Ambassador McCain said.
US Aid has also given funds to import fertilizer for the next cultivation season and other assistance to vulnerable groups.
“A part of the reason for Ambassador McCain’s and my trip out here is to see first-hand, the impact of the food insecurity in small towns and schools and talk to those people who are going through these hardships everyday and to make sure that every penny of our assistance gets into the hands of those who need it the most,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung said.
“We have very strong partners like the WFP, FAO and others and we are making sure that the assistance is accounted for to really help the people that we met today from the elderly, to the pregnant mother and to families who could not feed their children last night.”
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