FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have jointly published a report titled “Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) report”.

Highlights

  • Food insecurity: Around 6.3 million people in Sri Lanka are experiencing moderate to severe acute food insecurity. It is expected to worsen if required social aid and job opportunities are not provided.
  • Inflation: The severe macroeconomic crisis has resulted in acute shortages and surging prices of essential goods such as food, agricultural inputs, fuel and medicine. In August 2022, the year-on-year food inflation rate was about 94 per cent.
  • Agricultural production: Production of paddy rice, the main staple food, is estimated to be 3 million mt in 2022 – the lowest since the 2017 drought-affected harvest. The low yield is mainly because reduced application of fertilizers.
  • Animal husbandry: The production of maize (used as animal feed) is some 40 per cent below the past 5-year average, causing adverse impact on poultry and livestock production
  • Causes: Almost 50 per cent decline in production is due to two consecutive seasons of poor harvest. Significant foreign exchange constraints reduced imports of food grains.
  • Forecast: Food insecurity is expected to worsen especially from October 2022 to February 2023 lean season because of poor harvests of staple foods and the on-going economic crisis.
  • Recommendations: Provide immediate cash-based or food assistance to vulnerable people like pregnant and lactating mothers, women-headed households and persons with disabilities. Provide immediate assistance like agricultural inputs and promote home gardens by providing fuel, transportation and other facilities.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis

Sri Lanka currently owes USD 51 billion in foreign debt, more than half of which must be paid by 2027. The severe shortage of foreign reserves has caused a surge in prices of fuel, cooking gas and other essential commodities while power cuts and high food inflation worsened the financial burdens in households.

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