In a new report, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that 30 percent of the population in Sri Lanka is “experiencing acute food insecurity” and need urgent assistance.
According to the report, there is an immediate need for food assistance and livelihood programs to ensure households have access to nutritious food. FAO and WFP warn that without such assistance “the food security situation is expected to deteriorate further, particularly during the October 2022 to February 2023 lean season.”
Food insecurity on the island is the product of an ongoing economic crisis that has led to poor harvests and reduced imports of food grains due to foreign exchange constraints, and spikes in prices of essential products.
WFP Representative and Country Director in Sri Lanka, Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, stated that “more than 60 percent of families are eating less, and eating cheaper, less nutritious food.” Siddiqui added that “WFP’s top priority is to provide immediate food and nutrition assistance to the most at-risk communities to prevent a further deterioration of their nutrition.”
Among the recommendations outlined in the joint report from FAO and WFP is the “immediate provision of food or cash-based assistance to vulnerable and marginalized communities, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, women-headed households, and persons with disabilities.”
Further, the report recommends that there should be “immediate provision of agricultural inputs” as well as supporting “households to establish home gardens and backyard gardening to enhance their nutritional status.”
Finally, the report highlights the resumption of “national nutrition programs such as school meals” as a priority.
Read the full FAO/WFP statement here.