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Severe drought looms large next year, food security at risk- warns experts

14 December 2023 06:53 am - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Colombo, Dec.14 (Daily Mirror)  - A severe drought is predicted between February and the middle of next year posing a threat to the country’s food security, especially at a time when people endure hardships due to the economic crisis, experts warn.

This transpired at a top-level scientific session organized by the Association of SAARCSFOOD in Sri Lanka on climate change and its impact on food security in Sri Lanka.

Assistant Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Nalin Munasinghe, in his presentation, said shifts in climate can lead to altered growing seasons, changes in the prevalence of pests and diseases and increased risk of crop failures.

Sri Lanka is already a country vulnerable to climate changes with frequent extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms that could damage crops and disrupt supply chains. He empathized the need for policy and adaptation measures to deal with them and ensure food security in the end.

Clinical Nutrition Specialist Dr.Renuka Jayatissa, in her presentation, said though Sri Lanka had achieved good health with very low cost in healthcare, which resulted in longer life expectancy, such successes were hand in hand with a shameful failure.

She said almost one-third of households are food insecure in Sri Lanka and addressing this failure would be made much harder by the economic crisis and climate change.

“Sri Lanka is currently undergoing an economic crisis and people are facing immense hardships in obtaining a healthy diet. We estimate that 70 per cent of people are having hardships to reach a healthy diet. Additionally rising temperatures and more frequent severe weather will also have a disastrous impact on the availability and productivity of agricultural land. Indeed, we experience it today,” she said.

She said, “During the current economic crisis, the micronutrient gap is getting wider due to high prices of foods. As you may already be aware, approximately half of the Sri Lankan population has some form of micronutrient deficiencies. Studies show that many plants grown under conditions of higher CO2 levels suffer a decrease in micronutrients including B vitamins, zinc, and iron. Micronutrient deficiencies lead to potential impacts on human health and nutrition which are life threatening. Food fortification can help to fill the micronutrient gap. Millions of people will be more vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies due to diet with less diversity,”

Country Director – World Food Porgamme (WFP) Abdul Rahim Siddique who attended the event as the chief guest said there are more extreme weather events such as storms and floods in Sri Lanka.

“If we don’t assist communities in adjusting to these changes, there is a higher chance that there will be more problems with not having enough food and an increase in malnutrition,” he said.

He said a significant portion of land is in the dry and intermediate zones in Sri Lanka.


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  Comments - 12

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  • Dirt bag politicians Thursday, 14 December 2023 07:39 AM

    On this news, the rajapaksas and the other pohotuwa criminals must be planning their vacations in five star accommodation.

    Chichi the space monkey Thursday, 14 December 2023 07:42 AM

    Don't worry, Chichi will send rockets to populate clouds with water pallets to bring abundance of rain to the island.

    Ranil the sleaze Thursday, 14 December 2023 07:45 AM

    Ranil must be checking all the world events next year and marking them in his calendar. BTW the Columbian Mardi grass is in February.

    Sambo Thursday, 14 December 2023 07:50 AM

    We are such a good country and talking only but no action. We all watch the rain waters drain to the sea and talk about it. Why haven't we for the past 75 years or not developed a method to save this water.

    Waco Thursday, 14 December 2023 08:14 AM

    Pin-President has brought a miserable time to Sri Lanka.

    Jude Thursday, 14 December 2023 08:33 AM

    Who cares about next year, people can't afford to buy food today at the astronomical prices!!

    Jude Thursday, 14 December 2023 08:35 AM

    People you know who's responsible for this debacle, just take care of them.

    Tissa Fernando Thursday, 14 December 2023 09:30 AM

    Experts only warm but gives no practical solutions.

    Rip Winkle Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:38 AM

    1. Who are the scientists who predict this scenario? Local or foreign? 2. Has any of this information available for peer review, and if so, where? 3. Could this be a ploy to create a situation because of elections next year?

    Dee Thursday, 14 December 2023 10:49 AM

    A future NPP government will provide adequate rain. So please give maximum votes and bring victory for them- cows and buffaloes welcome to vote!

    Jude Thursday, 14 December 2023 11:31 AM

    Hey Dee HALF OF THE POPULATION LIVING ON ONE MEAL, the only hope lankans have is electing NPP to power, the රතු සහෝදරයන් will save billions of billions in rupees with putting a stop to government corruption. The prosperity to all lankans will start once NPP in power.

    Pun Pan Saturday, 16 December 2023 12:39 AM

    Raja Bhawathu Dhammiko! Kick all these Kaalakanni Hora from the parliament MPs soon to get a success of this country!


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