US announces additional $40 million for Sri Lanka’s agriculture
COLOMBO, September 10, 2022 – The United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced an additional $40 million to strengthen agriculture in Sri Lanka through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The new funding, subject to Congressional approval, will bring total USAID funding provided to the people of Sri Lanka through FAO this year to $46 million. The funding mainly targets the next major growing season – 2022-2023 Maha (October – March) and the following minor growing season – 2023 Yala (April – August). It will provide essential fertilizers and cash transfers to farmers to increase paddy production and avert a protracted food crisis.
The new commitment was announced today by USAID Administrator, Ms. Samantha Power, during a discussion with rice farmers and FAO representatives. The Administrator said, “Today, after speaking to these farmers and hearing about their needs, I am announcing $40 million in additional assistance to Sri Lanka from the American people. Thanks to USAID, this new funding will help one million local farmers get the fertilizers and agricultural products they need, just in time for the next planting season. ”
FAO will use the funds to strengthen the production capacity of paddy rice farmers through the provision of triple super phosphate (TSP) fertilizer. TSP, which was unavailable in the country for the past two growing seasons, will be provided to all rice farmers in Sri Lanka to ensure that the next growing seasons can feed the people of Sri Lanka.
In addition to the TSP, USAID funding will provide 186,000 smallholder farmers with land holdings of up to 1 hectare (2.5 acres), in the poorest districts of Sri Lanka’s dry and intermediate zones, with 50 kg of urea each. Smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable rural communities, growing mainly rice for their own consumption. Lack of fertilizer for two consecutive seasons has drastically reduced yields, forcing most farmers to resort to extreme measures (pawning, buying on credit, dipping into savings, etc.) to meet their crop needs. food security and nutrition.
To avoid such negative coping strategies, around 50,000 of the most vulnerable smallholder farmers who farm on land of 0.4 hectares or less will also receive cash transfers to boost their household food security and nutrition during the next lean season.
Speaking about the announcement, Mr. Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, thanked the United States for its timely and generous contribution aimed at strengthening the country’s food capacity, in particular that of the most vulnerable farmers, to contribute to the improvement of paddy production over the next few years. seasons. He said: “With the support provided by USAID, FAO will be able to strengthen food security in Sri Lanka by ensuring that the upcoming agricultural seasons are not compromised while protecting the most vulnerable smallholder farmers. of the worst impacts of the current crisis”.