100,000 families malnourished – Dr. Batagoda

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Chairman of the Presidential Committee on National Food Security Dr. Suren Batagoda said around 100,000 families are currently suffering from malnutrition, being unable to secure sufficient food.

He stated that of this number around 75,000 such families are presently struggling to survive, not being sure what to consume with regard to their daily food intake.

Furthermore, he added that of the 75,000 families, around 40,000 families are receiving food or nutrition via saline.

He warned if Sri Lanka’s food security is not established, people will have to face a major nutritional deficiency next year.

 Dr. Batagoda, noting that a sum of USD 900 million is required to uplift the agricultural sector, proposed focusing on starting a USD account for the future development of the agriculture sector due to the difficulties faced in obtaining such amounts from the government treasury at once.

 He emphasised that Sri Lankans working in foreign countries, International organisations and other aid groups can fund the account. Accordingly, the Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the Secretary of the Ministry to prepare a Cabinet Memorandum to maintain a USD account under the Ministry of Agriculture.

This was following a discussion at the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation under the patronage of Amaraweera in the presence of Dr. Batagoda, secretaries of the ministry Rohana Pushpakumara and Chandra Herath and the Moneragala and Hambantota District Secretaries and a group of officials on 29 Friday.

 Amaraweera mentioned that President Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged that steps will be taken to ensure food safety while agreeing to prioritise food production in the coming period.

By Faadhila Thassim and Nirmani Gunaratne