Govt strongly refutes media reports on widespread food insecurity in Sri Lanka

Govt strongly refutes media reports on widespread food insecurity in Sri Lanka

June 13, 2023   08:55 pm

The Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (June 13) strongly denied the claims published in multiple media reports asserting that 7.5 million Sri Lankans were lacking adequate meals.

Speaking on the matter, the Additional Secretary of Presidential Secretariat Dr. Sulakshana Jayawardena noted that contrary to these reports, the Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) indicate an improvement in food security across all provinces of Sri Lanka.

According to a statement issued by the government, Dr. Jayawardena, who is also the Director-General of the Partnership Secretariat for WFP Cooperation (PSWFPC), has emphasized the credibility of the CFSAM report released on May 24, 2023, clarifying that it is accessible to the public on the FAO website.

It is regrettable that the summarized accounts in various media reports did not align with the comprehensive findings of the CFSAM report, which can be easily cross-referenced with the report available on the relevant websites, he has said.

The CFSAM survey reveals that an estimated 3.9 million people, equivalent to 17 per cent of the population, are moderately acutely food insecure, the government said adding that this figure represents a notable decrease of nearly 40 per cent compared to the previous year’s figures recorded in June/July.

Moreover, the severe acute food insecurity rate has declined from 66,000 individuals to approximately 10,000, the government emphasized.

Stressing that the improvement in food security can be attributed to an increase in food consumption, which may be influenced by lower food expenses and higher incomes among agricultural communities during the assessment period coinciding with the harvest season, the government said the purpose of a CFSAM is to provide an accurate and comprehensive overview of the extent and severity of food insecurity, enabling the government and the international community to promptly and appropriately respond to the crisis and mitigate its impact on the affected populations.

“CFSAMs conduct a thorough analysis of the food security situation at both macro and micro levels, encompassing the overall economic climate, agricultural production, market conditions, and the supply-demand dynamics of staple foods, predominantly cereals. The result is the generation of a national cereal/staple food balance sheet (NFBS) and an estimation of any unmet requirement for staple food imports in the upcoming marketing year.”

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