FAO hands over 780.1mts of urea to Ministry of Agriculture

Distribution to smallholder paddy farmers in four districts to commence this week

COLOMBO – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) handed over 780.1 metric tonnes of Urea procured through the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (UN-CERF) to the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday (15).

Around 15,619 farmers cultivating paddy on landholdings of half an acre or less will receive 50 kgs of urea each, in four of the more poverty-stricken districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, and Badulla, FAO said in a statement, adding that urea will be provided to the farmers free of cost and its distribution will commence this week with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development.

With this FAO attempts to reach the most vulnerable farmers in the identified districts to help them recover from the recent economic shock and lack of adequate fertilizers, the statement noted.

Speaking at the handover, Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera emphasized his ministry’s commitment to boost agriculture production in Sri Lanka and expressed his appreciation for the support extended. “If paddy farmers receive the required agriculture inputs, the food security of the country can be restored,” he said thanking the FAO for working closely with the government to ensure essential fertilizer and other inputs are provided to the most vulnerable farmers.

FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Vimlendra Sharan thanked the government for its close collaboration with FAO and said, “As FAO we are working with our partners and advocating at every level to ensure that vulnerable farmers and fishers are not compelled to abandon their livelihoods to feed their families.” He said the Urea provided on Tuesday will be going to the most vulnerable farmers in four of the poorest districts in the country to strengthen the food security of their households and boost production.

The UN has since June been providing multi-sector support to insulate the people of Sri Lanka against the worst impacts of the economic crisis, including through the recently revised Humanitarian Needs and Priorities Plan, which targets 3.4 million people in need, “We are focused on supporting and augmenting local food production capacity and delivery systems as much as possible. The Urea provided to the Ministry of Agriculture today will bolster vulnerable livelihoods in the country, and in doing so protect lives in Sri Lanka,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Ms Hanaa Singer-Hamdy.





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