The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) operations in Sri Lanka welcomed a US$ 2.2 million donation of white rice and beans from the Government of Brazil yesterday.
Brazilian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Pedro Henrique Lopes Borio, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and WFP Country Representative in Sri Lanka Adnan Khan at the donation handing over ceremony
“Brazil and some other countries and inter national donor agencies came to assist Sri Lanka after the end of the conflict, especially for humanitarian areas and Sri Lanka fully utilized these assistance bringing benefits to the affected people,” Brazilian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Pedro Henrique Lopes Borio said.
The contribution of 3,000 metric tons of rice and 800 tons of beans, the first from Brazil to WFP operations in Sri Lanka will be used to help meet the food needs of resettled households in the north of the country
“Brazil will extend its fullest cooperation for the economic development of Sri Lanka and continue to expand bilateral relation in a way beneficial to both countries,” Borio f urther said.
The ambassador formally handed over the contribution to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, at the ceremony held in the Ministry of Economic Development.
Ministry of Economic Development is WFP’S implementing partner in Sri Lanka and key government counterpart.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, WFP’S Country Representative in Sri Lanka Adnan Khan said that the donation came at an opportune time. “We must remember that, despite significant gains already made, many resettled groups in the north - such as the elderly, disabled, widows and households headed by womenstill require assistance to meet their food and nutritional needs.”
Khan said the contribution demonstrated Brazilians’ commitment to supporting innovative efforts aimed at securing long-term food security.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is interested in assuring the food security in the country. “We want to ensure the food security of the families and individual also. Therefore we initiated the Divi Naguma Programme.”
“Under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government the country was able to achieve self-sufficiency in the rice production first time in the country’s history, after we gained the independence. Now we have a surplus in the rice production.
When the Brazilian government’s intention of this donation came to discussion at the cabinet, we paid attention to this situation. However, considering the good gesture extended by the Brazilian government and longstanding friendship between the two countries, we accepted this donation. I always appreciate the goodwill extended by the Brazilian government and people for Sri Lanka.”
WFP helped Sri Lanka at a critical time after the end of the conflict and coordinated the humanitarian assistance programme,” the minister further said.
In November last year, WFP launched its Center of Excellence in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia. The Centre of Excellence was created to assist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by drawing upon the expertise of WFP and Brazil in the fight against hunger, while promoting and sharing sustainable school feeding models and other food and nutrition safety nets from across the world.
Brazil is one of WFP’S most important emerging donors, contributing over US$ 118 million to the WFP since 2007.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.