On Saturday, the US announced a USD 40 million aid package to help Sri Lanka, which is now experiencing a crisis, to purchase fertiliser and other essential agricultural supplies in time for the upcoming growing season.
Samantha Power, the administrator of USAID, who is in Sri Lanka, made the news after meeting with farmer representatives in Ja-Ela, outside of Colombo. She stated that the funds will be in addition to the $6 million that had already been offered to help low-income farmers.
Due to a scarcity of foreign currency to pay for imports, Sri Lanka is experiencing its greatest economic crisis and severe shortages of necessities including food, gasoline, and medications. As a result of the government’s restriction on the importation of artificial fertilisers, which was purportedly implemented to encourage organic farming, agricultural production fell by more than half during the previous two growing seasons.
The farmers I just met revealed the significant hardships the economic crisis has brought upon them, their families, and the whole community. Power told reporters that they detailed events that were unthinkable two or three years ago.
According to the World Food Program, approximately 30% of Sri Lanka’s population—more than 6 million people are now food insecure and in need of humanitarian relief.
According to Power, the funds will support 1 million farmers in time for the upcoming season.
With the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka has achieved a preliminary deal for a $2.9 billion aid package over four years. However, the initiative is dependent on promises from creditors to restructure debt after the nation said it would no longer be making payments on its foreign debts.
More than 51 billion dollars are owed to foreign countries by Sri Lanka, of which $28 billion must be returned by 2027.