An initial shipment of 600 metric tons of fortified rice funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) arrived in Sri Lanka last week to support the Government of Sri Lanka’s national school meal program.
The shipment is part of a larger food assistance initiative by USAID and WFP that includes 3,950 metric tons of fortified rice, 768 metric tons of red lentils, 1,188 metric tons of soya, and a planned 2,310 metric tons of maize. This assistance will help provide school meals and nutritional supplements for 1.7 million children as well as 300,000 pregnant and lactating mothers.
“US-SL relations celebrate 75 years this year, and ours has been a story of friendship and partnership,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung. “The American people swiftly responded when Sri Lanka’s economic crisis reduced access to nutritional food for many Sri Lankans, including children and mothers. This shipment reflects our continued commitment to the people of Sri Lanka.”
According to a Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission report by U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly thirty percent of the Sri Lankan population is currently facing food insecurity. Through ongoing initiatives as well as new funding and food shipments, the United States is working with the Government of Sri Lanka, the WFP, and other partners to address these needs.
The United States has announced more than $270 million in new support to Sri Lanka over the last year. “As one of Sri Lanka’s longstanding development partners, we recognize how critical daily vital micronutrient intake is for young people. Therefore, child and maternal feeding programs were one of USAID’s very first assistance interventions in Sri Lanka, more than six decades ago,” said Gabriel Grau, USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives.
“We are grateful for USAID’s assistance, which has enabled WFP to rapidly expand its emergency operation to reach the most food-insecure communities,” said Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, WFP Sri Lanka Representative and Country Director. “The latest shipment of fortified rice funded by USAID will support the continuation of the school meal program while providing children with added nutrients through a mix of iron and folic acid, relieving parents who are struggling to provide healthy meals to their families.”
Pregnant and lactating mothers will receive Thriposha – a nutrition intervention in Sri Lanka that provides a combination of energy, protein, and micronutrients as a ‘ready-to-eat’ cereal.
This initiative is one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to promote economic prosperity and democratic good governance for all Sri Lankans.