September 13, 2022
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 13 September 2022: To address the immediate needs of the ongoing socioeconomic crisis in Sri Lanka, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka will procure a significant portion of maize seed requirements in Sri Lanka, targeting the Maha cultivation season. Maize is a staple input in the livestock feed industry and maize-based food items such as Thriposha and Samaposha, and the demand for seeds has swelled over recent years.
Sri Lanka is expected to face over a 60 per cent drop in crop production this Yala cultivation season which will decline farmers' income to half, creating a cascading effect during the next Maha cultivation season growing the current socio-economic crisis to its worse end. However, due to shortages related to the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka, only approximately 50% of the seed requirement is readily available in the country to supplement cultivation in the Maha season. JICA recognized the immediate need to import seeds and achieve the balance requirement for the soon approaching season.
The agreement was signed today with Mr. YAMADA Tetsuya, the chief representative of JICA Sri Lanka
Office and Ms. Malin Herwig, Officer-in-Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka in the presence of Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Agriculture with the participation of wider representatives from the partner organizations.
Highlighting the role of JICA in contributing towards food security needs, Mr. YAMADA Tetsuya, the chief representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office stated, "Currently, the supply chain of livestock and food production is affected by shortage of the maize seeds, affecting the availability and affordability of some essential food items, and giving rise to nutritional concerns for the population, which we hope to resolve through the JICA's collaborative assistance with UNDP."
JICA and UNDP will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to procure and supply approximately 200MT (200,000 KG) of maize seeds to farmer organizations in the dry zone districts of Sri Lanka.
Speaking to the timeliness of the intervention, Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Agriculture commented, "I highly appreciate, the support provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency together with the United Nations Development Programme, to boost the agriculture sector of our country. Currently our government, has launched a comprehensive program to solve the food crisis in our nation. Accordingly, we have prepared all the plans to carry out paddy cultivation of 800,000 hectares and maize cultivation of 60,000 hectares in this Maha season. There was a problem, in getting the maize seeds needed for this. We currently have maize seeds for about 58,000 hectares. I highly appreciate this step taken by you to provide 200 Metric tons of Maize seed on behalf of the Government."
Commenting on the role of UNDP in bringing together stakeholders and facilitating such processes in times of need, Ms. Malin Herwig, Officer-in-Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka stated, "UNDP brings together stakeholders at a critical time to provide support with speed and transparency. Through procurement efforts such as this, the need of the hour can be addressed ahead of the season to reduce risk for food insecurity. We look forward to working closely with JICA counterparts in the timely supply of Maize to farmers in the Dry Zone."