To solve the country’s food problem, the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) proposed that all ministries get together and form a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Food Security.
The members of the group stressed the importance of forming this committee in order to bring together all of the agencies responsible for dealing with the current food crisis, make swift decisions, follow up on activities performed, and debate future actions.
The decision was made at a recent COPA meeting, which was led by (Prof) Tissa Vitharana, a Member of Parliament (10). The SAARC Food Bank and the World Food Program (WFP) were also discussed as potential partners in helping Sri Lanka overcome its food crisis.
The COPA’s Chairman expounded on the exorbitant rise in the prices of vital food goods as a result of the country’s government’s deregulation of food pricing. The COPA Chairman further requested that the government investigate into the potential of delivering food items at reasonable costs with government assistance, as food items on the market are pricey. As a result, the Food Commissioner’s Department, Lanka Sathosa, State Trading Corporation (STC), and Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies were examined as options for catering to low-income families.
Climate change, the war in Russia and Ukraine, the global wheat, maize, and fertilizer production issue, and rising oil prices, according to the Auditor General, have all impeded food production. In the local context, due to the current fertilizer crisis in Sri Lanka, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and the advent of a policy crisis regarding the use of pesticides, production of key food items has decreased.
The Ministry of Commerce has designated sixteen categories of food as essential food items, based on data from Sri Lanka Customs and the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute. Samba rice, Nadu rice, uncooked rice, sugar, red lentils, wheat flour, large onions, potatoes, tinned fish, milk powder, dried sprats, dried chiles, chickpeas, chicken, fish, and eggs are among the ingredients.
The officials were briefed on the amount of critical food items produced in the country this year during the Yala and Maha seasons, as well as the amount of food needed to meet the country’s need. The Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture stated that the new government’s committee, which is chaired by Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, will meet in the Prime Minister’s Office.
He went on to say that the Ministry of Agriculture has developed an official plan of action for meeting the country’s carbohydrate, protein, and other energy demands by January of next year. The Secretary stated that it will be given to all Members of Parliament through email for their information.