Sri Lankan rice farmers need emergency food aid following dry spell – UN
The document, prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), found an uncovered deficit of nearly 84,000 tons of rice after taking into account anticipated commercial imports and food aid for 2004.
In the worst-affected areas rice losses ranged from 20 to 70 per cent, while the overall decrease in paddy production in this nation of 19 million was 7.2 per cent below the previous five-year average and almost 14 per cent below 2002-2003 figures.
The reduced rainfall and paddy production followed two successive bumper harvests which had led to assumptions that household stocks were fairly good at the end of 2003. Now, the report warns, many of the poorest and most vulnerable households are once again exposed to shortages.
The report was based on a March visit to Sri Lanka by experts from the two agencies.