The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) observed that an increase in the rates of malnutrition in Sri Lanka is a real risk.
WFP and FAO joined hands in calling for action to improve the food systems to help people better withstand shocks including the Covid-19 pandemic and prevent increasing malnutrition in the country.
The recent spike of Covid-19 cases has highlighted the importance of strengthening our food systems, to ensure that safe, good quality and nutritious food makes its way from farm to table, even amid disruptions as unprecedented as the current Covid-19 crisis, WFP and FAO said in a joint statement.
The socio-economic effects of the pandemic – particularly loss of jobs and reduced incomes –are heightening existing threats such as those related to climate change which the country is particularly vulnerable to. In Sri Lanka, an increase in the rates of malnutrition is a real risk, the joint statement said.
“Simply producing more food is not enough; making agri-food systems sustainable, resilient and inclusive, and healthy diets accessible and affordable for everyone is paramount to building back better from Covid-19,” said Dr Xuebing Sun, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
“Our future food systems need to provide decent livelihoods for food system workers, while preserving natural resources and biodiversity and tackling challenges such as climate change,“ Dr. Sun reiterated.
“A diverse food supply is an essential part of the health and nutrition response to Covid-19 when people’s immune systems need to be robust,” says WFP Country Director, Brenda Barton.
He said “The right nutrition at the right time can change lives and allow the people of Sri Lanka, especially children, to reach their full potential. A well nourished population is crucial to building a healthy and prosperous nation.”
The need for concerted action to improve agricultural production while enhancing global supply chains, preserving access to safe and nutritious food and ending food waste is captured in this year’s World Food Day theme: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”.