The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Sri Lanka has acknowledged a recent contribution of CHF 800,000 (approximately US$802,000) from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at a special event held at the Embassy of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The funding is being used to provide much-needed cash and other assistance to improve food security among rural farming communities affected by the country’s economic crisis.
Through this funding, over 1,000 smallholder farmers across five drought-prone districts are being provided with LKR 50,000 each (approximately US$140) to access essential items, including food. The funding will also support recovery among communities grappling with the twin challenges of the economic and climate crises. Through a suite of assistance, which includes diversified sources of income and enhanced access to markets, WFP aims to improve the livelihoods of those most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
The Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Dr. Dominik Furgler said: “Switzerland is supporting Sri Lanka in many ways during this difficult time. Farmers, their families and many people associated with the agricultural sector are currently facing enormous difficulties. I am grateful that we have developed a partnership with WFP to strengthen the resilience of Sri Lankan farmers. This will ultimately benefit the entire population."
Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, Representative and Country Director of WFP Sri Lanka added: “Smallholder farmers form the backbone of our food systems but are among those hardest-hit by the economic crisis.
“Their capacity to cope has been stretched to the limit, severely undermining their ability to withstand any future disasters such as floods and drought. This funding from Switzerland is timely and critical to assist these communities in meeting their immediate food needs, while helping to restore food security in the long term.”
Extreme weather in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka was ranked second among countries most affected by extreme weather events in the last 20 years, as per the Global Climate Risk Index 2019. As part of its efforts to strengthen food security, WFP works towards making food systems more robust and resilient to the effects of the climate crisis. The generous contribution from the Swiss Government enables WFP to sustain the positive outcomes of prior projects which strengthened resilience of climate-vulnerable communities and promotes self-reliance among smallholders even in times of crises.