The Food and Agriculture Organization delivered 8,360 metric tonnes of urea fertilizer this week to the Ministry of Agriculture for distribution during the forthcoming Maha cropping season.
This has been made possible through generous funding from the government of Japan.
The essential fertilizer will be distributed to over 228,000 smallholder paddy farmers across several districts in dry and intermediate zones of Sri Lanka, bolstering production and increasing the resilience of smallholder paddy farmers in the country.
The assistance targets smallholder paddy farmers cultivating lands up to one hectare in Kurunegala, Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa, districts.
Under this emergency assistance programme, farmers cultivating up to 0.5 hectares of land will receive 25 kg of urea fertilizer free of charge, while those cultivating up to 1 hectare of land will receive 50 kg of urea, also provided at no cost to the farmers.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera emphasized the significance of this support in advancing the country's agricultural goals, saying, "The arrival of this urea fertilizer will support Sri Lanka’s steady recovery. By addressing the needs of our farmers, we are fostering the growth of a more resilient and prosperous agricultural sector. I thank the government of Japan and the Japanese people for this valuable aid to the small holder paddy farmers of Sri Lanka."
MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, the Japanese Ambassador, expressed Japan’s commitment to supporting Sri Lanka's agricultural sector and stated, "We are delighted to be a part of this collaborative effort with FAO and the government of Sri Lanka. Our shared vision of empowering smallholder farmers through sustainable practices aligns well with this initiative. We believe this assistance will significantly contribute to the betterment of Sri Lanka's farming communities."
Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, highlighted the organization's commitment to sustainable agriculture and its dedication to assisting Sri Lanka's farming communities, stating, "FAO remains steadfast in its mission to promote sustainable practices and improve the livelihoods of farmers. This collaboration with the government of Japan and the Ministry of Agriculture exemplifies the positive outcomes that can be achieved when nations come together to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers."
FAO, along with its esteemed partners, reiterates its commitment to supporting the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka and stands united in advancing food security and building a resilient agrifood system in the country.