The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) are supporting the Government of Sri Lanka with funding worth USD 118,000 (LKR 22 million) to provide vegetable seed packets to rural farming communities.
This grant will be used to provide 54,000 farmers with packets containing a wide range of seeds, offered at subsidized rates, to cultivate nutrient-rich vegetable crops in their home gardens. The project complements the national programme carried out earlier this year to promote home gardening within communities.
As part of its global and national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and hardship faced by communities, WFP has quickly adapted and reshaped on-going projects to scale-up and deliver complementary programmes. Harnessing this expertise, WFP and KOICA have reoriented its current resilience-building programme in Sri Lanka to respond to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic.
“KOICA has been assisting the Government of Sri Lanka for many years with resilience building activities,” says Kang Youn Hwa, KOICA Sri Lanka Office Country Director. “This latest contribution forms a part of our on-going support to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The grant is provided with the aim of assisting communities in rural areas to establish home gardens, as a sustainable method towards a more stabilized food supply. KOICA stands in solidarity with the Government of Sri Lanka during this difficult time.”
WFP and KOICA will support rural farming families in Moneragala, Batticaloa, Mullaitivu, Mannar, and Matale districts, with vegetable seed packets. These packets, originally priced at LKR 400, will be made available to the farmers at the highly subsidized rate of LKR 20, thanks to funding from WFP and KOICA.
“Home gardening is an excellent means of sourcing diverse, safe and nutritious food,” said Brenda Barton, WFP Country Director in Sri Lanka. “The home-gardening programme initiated by the Government at the onset of the pandemic was timely, providing people with the tools needed to grow crops for home consumption. The support from KOICA to reach more vulnerable people will enhance this programme and help build resilience among rural communities.”
This initiative augments the ongoing “R5n” programme, a joint project by WFP and KOICA, which is designed to build resilience among vulnerable communities against recurring natural shocks, through the diversification of livelihoods. WFP will continue to work in partnership with KOICA to support the government in improving the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers and vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka.