Everyone knows what is happening in Sri Lanka. Well, how tragic is the food orhunger scenario in the Island nation, which is facing a record food price inflation, skyrocketing fuel costs and widespread commodity shortages? Estimates by the United Nations show that about 6.26 million Sri Lankans or three in ten households are unsure of where their next meal is coming from.
Drawing the most pathetic situation of the country in its latest food insecurity assessment, the World Food Programme (WFP) said that the prices are keeping healthy meals out of reach for many. About 61 per cent of households are regularly using coping strategies to cut down on costs, such as reducing the amount they eat and consuming increasingly less nutritious meals, the report added.
The WFP warns that pregnant mothers need to eat nutritious meals every day but the poorest find it harder and harder to afford the basics. WFP Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Anthea Webb told a local television station last month that pregnant women, by skipping meals, were putting themselves and their children’s health at risk in a way that carries throughout their life.
A staggering 57.4 per cent inflation rate and a steep increase of food prices has crippled the population’s ability to put sufficient and nutritious meals on the table. This brings two in five households without adequate diets, the report said. The WFP points out that food security situation was worst among people working in the farming estates sector – such as large tea plantations where more than half of households are food insecure. In all measures of food insecurity and coping strategies, these households have consistently poorer outcomes than urban and rural populations.
While urban households are depleting savings to cope for now, families on rural estates are already turning to credit, in order to buy food and other necessities. “Poor families in cities and those who work on estates have seen their incomes plummet while market prices have soared,” the WFP official said.
- Food inflation is alarmingly high at 57.4 percent in June 2022. Steeply increasing food prices have crippled the population’s ability to put sufficient and nutritious food on the table.
- The majority of assessed households (61 percent) are regularly employing food-based coping strategies such as eating less preferred and less nutritious food, and reducing the amount of food they eat. Two in five households are not consuming adequate diets.
- The food security situation is worst among people living in the estate sector, where more than half of households are food insecure. In all measures of food insecurity and coping strategies, these households have consistently poorer outcomes than urban and rural populations. While urban households are depleting savings to cope for now, estate populations are already turning to credit to purchase food and other necessities
- An estimated 200,000 households are using emergency livelihood coping strategies that are likely to severely impact their medium- to long-term capacity for income-generating activities. WFP anticipates that even more people will turn to these coping strategies as the crisis deepens.