ECONOMYNEXT – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with the Save the Children in Sri Lanka (SCISL) donated 320 metric tons of yellow split beans for school children amid an economic crisis that has hit the nutrition levels of many poor families.
Sri Lanka has sought assistance internationally to face a looming food shortage after economic crisis hit the ground level with the lack of fertilizer has cut short the island nation’s food production in 2022.
US Embassy in Colombo said the shipment is part of the USDA McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, a five-year $26 million project aimed at providing immediate emergency assistance to the food insecure to improve literacy and attendance by reducing hunger.
The USDA and SCISL will work with the Sri Lankan government and local communities to ensure
food reaches those most in need.
Analysts have said most people, mainly lower and middle income earners are compelled to cut short their foods and thus having an impact on the nutrition level due to high cost of foods after Sri Lanka’s food productions reduced following former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa banned fertilizer imports overnight. That also coupled with record high fuel prices and unprecedented level of depreciation in the local rupee currency since March.
“The donation reflects the US.’s larger efforts to scale up food security operations worldwide to
provide record amounts of immediate emergency assistance in order to save lives and alleviate
suffering,” said the statement.
Sri Lanka’s food inflation has been globally ranked 5th highest by the World Bank. The food inflation jumped to a record 82.5% in July from 75.8% a month ago. The Agriculture Ministry has advised citizens to cultivate in their home gardens for private consumption.
The SCISL and the United States have announced more than $179 million in new assistance to Sri Lanka this year, including nearly $32 million in new humanitarian and technical assistance since June. (Colombo/Aug27/2022)