A discussion to inform district secretaries and divisional secretaries, on September 16, was held at the President’s Media Division in parallel to the implementation of the Multi-sector Combined Mechanism for empowering of Rural Economic Revitalization Centers to ensure food security and nutrition introduced under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe on September 13.
During this discussion held on-line headed by Presidential Adviser on National Food Security Dr. Suren Batagoda, implementation of the Multi-sector Combined Mechanism to ensure food security at the rural level, the issues that arise in the implementation of the mechanism and solutions for them were discussed comprehensively.
He instructed the divisional secretaries to gather required data to implement the program, going from door to door within the next week. He also informed the officials could gather data on-line. He also instructed them to implement the program with the intention of ensuring that all those deprived have access to food.
During the discussion the issues that arise in establishment of Rural Economic Revitalization Centres, many issues faced by the farmers such as lack of sufficient fertilizer for cultivation, shortage of seeds, lack of fuel to operate agricultural machinery, lack of pesticides, animal damage to crops and difficulties in marketing the surplus harvest were also discussed.
Dr. Suren Batagoda further pointed out that measures have already been taken to provide immediate solutions to these issues, and measures have already been taken to import fertilizers and insecticides, and necessary arrangements have been made to provide a fuel quota under QR code for fuel.
Dr. Suren Batagoda further assured that locally scarce seeds would be imported, and by way of combining all the national revitalization centers established under this program an opportunity will be provided to sell excess products at a reasonable price by making them available at the economic revitalization centers which experience deficit of such products.
Following statement was also made by Presidential Adviser Dr Suren Batagoda:
A food crisis has arisen in the country due to the failure of the cultivation in the last Yala season. The available data reports that about 60 percent of the population has reduced their food intake due to food shortage in the country. Based on the same fact, the provision of food to low-income people has become one of our leading programs.
The President’s instruction is not to let anyone starve. Therefore, we have planned to provide food to the needy through a program called Community Kitchen. Accordingly, it is hoped to strengthen household units and gather data to implement cultivating plans in the upcoming season. Food can be provided to the people in the country without any shortage provided that this program is implemented continuously.By one hand, the government officials should be held responsible for the food crisis. As government officials, we should also intervene in the program to address the food crisis. We hope to implement food and cultivation programs through this economic hub.
Presidential Additional Secretaries L. P. Jayampathie and Dr Sulakshana Jayawardena and directors of the Food Security and Nutrition Committee Yasantha Munasinghe and P. M. S. Jayathilake also participated at the event.