By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW):The European Union (EU) has allocated 4 million Euro (approximately 1,5 billion rupees) in grants for fertilizers, seeds, and training to the most vulnerable farmers, as a response to the agriculture and food security crisis in Sri Lanka.
These agriculture and food security programs will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Sri Lanka with EU funding.
Through funding from the European Union (EU), a shipment of 3,820 tonnes of urea fertilizer procured by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday for distribution among smallholder paddy farmers and paddy seed farmers in Sri Lanka.
This new shipment of urea fertilizer will be dispatched to over 72,200 smallholder paddy farmers who were severely impacted by the recent economic crisis in Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Ampara, Matale, Puttalam, Kurunegala and Hambantota districts.
This will be a part of a 4 million Euro (approximately 1.5 billion rupees) programme launched by FAO and the EU to address the agriculture and food security crisis in Sri Lanka while supporting the introduction of integrated plant nutrient management strategy amongst identified paddy growers.
Speaking on the support the EU has extended to revitalize Sri Lanka’s paddy cultivation sector, European Union Ambassador, Denis Chaibi said: “The distribution of urea fertilizers for vulnerable farmers is one of many actions we undertook to respond to the socio-economic crisis affecting millions of people in Sri Lanka.
We hope that with this new support we can prevent immediate food shortages but also contribute towards a transition to a more sustainable and resilient agriculture sector in the future”, he added.
Through this programme, every eligible farmer cultivating up to 0.5 Ha of land in the targeted districts will receive 50kg of urea fertilizer for the upcoming cultivating season.
Additionally, the programme will also provide high-quality paddy seeds and the necessary technology/capacity building to boost the efficient use of fertilizer.
Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera said, “This initiative by EU and FAO goes beyond providing material inputs and addresses the country’s long-term need to ensure sustainability of the local agriculture sector
“This consignment of essential urea fertilizer will be the first component of the multi-faceted support FAO will provide through valuable funding from the EU, to boost Sri Lanka’s paddy production and revitalize the local agriculture sector.
building and training of extension officials and farmers” FAO Representative in Sri Lanka, Vimlendra Sharan said.
Crop failures during recent harvesting seasons due to shortages of fertilizer and vital inputs, have posed many challenges for smallholder paddy farmers to sustain their livelihoods.
This programme seeks to encourage smallholder farmers through material and technical inputs to adopt scientific farming practices to enhance fertilizer use efficiency and strengthen the seed paddy production system in Sri Lanka to meet the current demand.