President’s Adviser on National Food Security, Dr. Suren Batagoda said available data shows that about 60 per cent of the population has reduced their food intake due to the food shortage in the country.
He also said Government officials should be held responsible for the food crisis.
“A food crisis has arisen in the country due to cultivation failure in the last Yala season and based on the same report, thus the provision of food to low-income families has become one of our leading programmes,” Dr. Batagoda said.
A discussion to inform District Secretaries and Sivisional Secretaries was held at the President’s Media Division parallel to the implementation of the Multi-sector Combined Mechanism to empower Rural Economic Revitalisation Centre to ensure food security and nutrition introduced under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe on 13 September.
During this discussion held on-line headed by Presidential Adviser on National Food Security Dr. Batagoda, implementation of the Multi-sector Combined Mechanism to ensure food security at rural level, issues that arise in the implementation of the mechanism and solutions were comprehensively discussed.
He instructed divisional secretaries to gather required data to implement the programme, going from door-to- door within the next week. He also informed officials to gather data on-line. Dr Batagoda instructed them to implement the programme to ensure that all those who were deprived of food have access to food.
During the discussion, issues that arose in the establishment of Rural Economic Revitalisation Centres, many issues faced by farmers such as lack of sufficient fertiliser for cultivation, shortage of seeds, lack of fuel to operate agricultural machinery, lack of pesticides, animal damage to crops and difficulties in marketing the surplus harvest were also discussed.
Dr. Batagoda further pointed out that measures have already been taken to provide immediate solutions to these issues, and measures have been taken to import fertiliser and insecticides, and necessary arrangements have been made to provide a fuel quota under the QR code for fuel.
He further assured that locally scarce seeds would be imported, and by way of combining all the Revitalisation Centers an opportunity will be provided to sell excess products at a reasonable price by making them available at Revitalisation Centers which experience deficit of such products.
“The President’s instruction is to prevent starvation. Therefore, we have planned to provide food to the needy through a programme titled ‘Community Kitchen’. Accordingly, it is hoped to strengthen household units and gather data to implement cultivation plans in the upcoming season. Food can be provided to people in the country without any shortage provided the programme is implemented continuously. On the one hand, government officials should be held responsible for the food crisis. As government officials, we should also intervene to address the food crisis. We hope to implement food and cultivation programmes through this hub,” he said.
Presidential Additional Secretaries L. P. Jayampathie and Dr Sulakshana Jayawardena and directors of the Food Security and Nutrition Committee Yasantha Munasinghe and P. M. S. Jayathilake also participated at the event.