July 31, Colombo: The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of JPY 300 million worth of (approx. Rs. 520 million) food assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
The Exchange of Notes for the grant aid was signed today, on 31 July, between KITAMURA Toshihiro, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of Japan to Sri Lanka and Andrea Berardo, Deputy Country Director of WFP Sri Lanka, in the presence of .N.H.M. Chitrananda, Secretary, Ministry of Education, Ms. Renuka Peiris, Director, Health and Nutrition of the Ministry of Education, and LMW Dharmasena, Additional Secretary of School Activities at the Japanese Ambassador’s official residence in Colombo.
Since 2011, the Government of Japan has donated approximately 1,500 tons of canned fish for the school meals program, worth JPY 1 billion, across vulnerable areas in Sri Lanka. Through the provision of canned fish, the Government of Japan has helped improve the nutritional status of children with a valuable source of animal protein, increase the school retention, and improve their educational standards and community integration, including the Northern Province, where many people are in need of food and nutrition due to the past conflicts.
The people and the government of Sri Lanka demonstrated their solidarity and a true bond of friendship to Japan in the immediate aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that befell on 11 March 2011 through the donation of USD 1 million in cash and the amount of 3 million tea bags.
The canned fish which will be provided through this grant program is produced in the earthquake and tsunami affected areas and the series of this assistance, commenced in 2011, has shown a token of our deep gratitude to our Sri Lankan friends for lending a warm helping hand to Japan in times of our great need.
The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has considerably affected the lives and livelihoods of many in the vulnerable communities especially children whose schools are closed and whose access to school meal program are deprived of. Through this assistance, approximately 400 tons of canned fish will be distributed as school meals through the WFP which will help improve the nutritional status of children across the country especially in times of need under COVID-19.
“Japan and Sri Lanka have always extended mutual supports in the testing times and our relations have thus grown from strength to strength as we overcome each challenge. We will continue to extend the hand of friendship in the spirit of unity and solidarity in our joint combat against COVID-19,” the Japanese Embassy said in a statement.