Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with representatives from the agriculture sector to discuss the pending food shortage in the country as fears of a global food crisis are growing due to the shock of the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.

During the discussions held at the Prime Minister's Office today (27), the Prime Minister stated that USD 600 million would be required to ensure adequate supply of fertiliser. The officials informed the Prime Minister that the fertiliser companies would be able to supply the required fertiliser quantities if the banks released the dollars.

 

PM Wickremesinghe said that he would be presenting a new Act in Parliament, the Essential Agriculture Supplies Act, which would ensure uninterrupted supply and distribution of agricultural materials, the Prime Minister's Media Division said.

 

He observed that due to the war in Ukraine, the world is facing a wheat and fertiliser shortage. He explained that as the shortages increase, Sri Lanka's food supplies would worsen unless remedial action was taken immediately.

The Prime Minister instructed the officials to identify underutilized land in the urban areas which could be cultivated. He said that the situation in the country was dire and required a combined effort if we were to overcome it.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Ports and Aviation Minister Nirmal Siripala, Youth, Sports and Irrigation Minister Roshan Ranasinghe along with relevant officials also attended the discussions.

 

WhatsApp Image 2022 05 27 at 3.09.31 PM

 PIC: Prime Minister's Media Division

 

World faces looming hunger crisis

 

Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Monday (23) that "the anxiety about access to food at a reasonable price globally is hitting the roof" as food prices continue "to go up up up".

Last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned of "the spectre of a global food shortage in the coming months" without urgent international action.

 

The U.N. estimates that in the past year, global food prices have risen by almost one third, fertiliser by more than half and oil prices by almost two thirds.

 

Russian invasion of Ukraine was a body blow to the fertiliser industry that has been hammered by various events for more than a year. Russia typically exports nearly 20 percent of the world’s nitrogen fertilisers and, combined with its sanctioned neighbour Belarus, 40 percent of the world’s exported potassium. Most of that is now off limits to the world’s farmers, thanks to Western sanctions and Russia’s recent fertiliser export restrictions.

 

'Export-oriented economy'

 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe highlighted the need to make policy decisions based on an export-oriented economy during his meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank and heads of local and foreign banks yesterday (26).

He said that these policies will help the export industry tackle the current economic crisis faced by the island.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that around 70 countries currently face difficulties in the global crisis and stressed that Sri Lanka is ranked first among them. He emphasised that they have to face many challenges in the future, which include both domestic and international.

He said that the country has a little window wherein they need to introduce appropriate policies which can lower the effect on the economy.

 

WhatsApp Image 2022 05 26 at 3.44.58 PM2PIC: Prime Minister's Media Division