From left: UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanna Singer-Hamdy, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Vimlendra Sharan, and Agriculture Secretary Gunadasa Samarasinghe at the handover ceremony
- Distribution to 15,619 smallholder paddy farmers in 4 districts to commence this week
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) handed over 780.1 MT of urea procured through the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (UN-CERF) to the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.
FAO said 15,619 farmers cultivating paddy on landholdings of half an acre or less will receive 50 kg of urea each, in four of the more poverty-stricken districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and Badulla. Urea will be provided to the farmers free of cost and its distribution will commence this week with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development.
With this FAO attempts to reach the most vulnerable farmers in the identified districts to help them recover from the recent economic shock and lack of adequate fertilisers.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasised the ministry’s commitment to boost agriculture production in Sri Lanka and expressed his appreciation for the support extended. “If paddy farmers receive the required agriculture inputs the food security of the country can be restored. I thank FAO for working closely with the Government to ensure essential fertiliser and other inputs are provided to the most vulnerable farmers.”
FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Vimlendra Sharan thanked the Government for its close collaboration with FAO and stated, “As FAO we are working with our partners and advocating at every level to ensure that vulnerable farmers and fishers are not compelled to abandon their livelihoods to feed their families. The urea provided today will be going to the most vulnerable farmers in four of the poorest districts in the country to strengthen the food security of their households and boost production for the country.”
The UN has since June been providing multi-sector support to insulate the people of Sri Lanka against the worst impacts of the economic crisis, including through the recently revised Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan, which targets 3.4 million people in need. “We are focused on supporting and augmenting local food production capacity and delivery systems as much as possible. The urea provided to the Ministry of Agriculture today will bolster vulnerable livelihoods in the country, and in doing so protect lives in Sri Lanka,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer-Hamdy.