ECONOMYNEXT – Facing a severe food crisis, Sri Lanka’s Colombo Municipal Council has switched to vegetable cultivation in 600-acre land it owns in the capital city which it earlier used for ornamental plants.
The island nation is faced with a food crisis due to decline in the production after a failed chemical fertilizer ban by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2021.
As a result, the country with 22 million people forced to pay higher prices with the nation-wide food inflation has been hovering around 85 percent, the latest data show.
The cultivation of vegetables including brinjal, reddish, beetroot, cord, tomato, long beans, chilli, spinach, and beans was done to feed low-income families, who account for 60 percent of the residents in the Municipal area.
Usually, Colombo residents get vegetables mainly from other key markets including central Dambulla. However, lack of production in the face of expensive inputs and higher transport cost after fuel price hike.
“The crops that we have basically harvested goes to the community kitchens. We feed so many schools and to the underserved communities. So, at this point of time we have five schools that do midday meals for them,” Colombo Mayoress Rosy Senanayake told EconomyNext.
“We do it for preschools and we use the harvest in those kitchens and we have community kitchens in those communities. We basically give all the vegetation that we have.”
Officials in charge of cultivations said the harvesting is done three times a month on a rotiational basis.
The cultivation, titled as ‘Urban Harvest’ is a joint project of CMC, ONE team, Kirula Sevana and many voluntary groups to help the cultivation with an aim to encourage growing food crops usually imported in identified lands and apartments within the city while organizing community kitchen projects in the city. (Colombo/Nov 22/2022)