Oct 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka, emerging from a three-decade long armed conflict and a devastating tsunami, is on its way to achieve food security for all of its people and the country has been successful in achieving food security as well as creating healthy people, a senior government official said.
Delivering the keynote speech at the "Conference on National Food & Nutrition Security 2012 - Challenges and Opportunities for Sri Lanka." Secretary to Finance and Planning Minsitry Dr. P.B. Jayasundara said the country has become self-sufficient in rice, Soya-bean and chillies and has the opportunity to export them.
The Secretary said the government's Divi Neguma program under which the people are encouraged to grow at least one vegetable in their home gardens has been successful in leading to the food security among rural masses. The Divi Neguma programme has promoted the concept of home gardening amongst the people, he noted.
Dr. Jayasundara also noted that the government is considering earning foreign exchange through the export of liquid milk, vegetables, fruits and cut flowers.
The private firm, CIC Agribusiness has jointly hosted the conference with the Ministry of Agriculture on October 17, at Water's Edge in Battaramulla to discuss the issue of the global food crisis and its implications to Sri Lanka.
Scientists, food nutritionists, policymakers, academics and agri-business firms came together for the first time at the conference to debate and discuss the way forward to secure food nutrition and security in Sri Lanka.
Food security, spelled out clearly in the Mahinda Chintana Vision for the Future is a national priority for the Sri Lankan government.
The 2012 Global Food Security Index has ranked Sri Lanka in the 62nd position out of 105 countries.
An in-depth survey of food security conditions in the Northern, Eastern and North Central areas of the country conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) last year found that food insecurity is high in the conflict-affected areas.
The study recommended the government to establish a food security monitoring system to monitor conditions in vulnerable populations, especially in the Northern Province.