WFP commends Govt’s food distribution process in lockdown | Daily News

WFP commends Govt’s food distribution process in lockdown

Brenda Barton
Brenda Barton

Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) Sri Lanka, Brenda Barton said that the government had done a commendable job in ensuring distribution of food during the lockdown period. Barton noted that food distribution was done in partnership by the private and public sectors.

Barton said, “The government has done an amazing job and the private sector was also critical in having e-platforms and food trucks etc. But now we are in a difficult situation with people not having an income.”

Barton was speaking to LMD TV on October 14.

In the long run, she called on the government to adopt policies to increase domestic agriculture production. She said, “Put in place policies that increase agricultural production and also distribute food all along the value chain.”

Programs by the Word Food program adopt the ethos of ‘hand up’ as opposed to ‘hand out’. She explained that this meant giving people the tools to fend for themselves.

There is a hidden malnutrition problem in Sri Lanka with people being underweight for their height and lacking the proper nutrients in their diet.

“Sri Lanka has an amazing array of foods. Where are the places that people can have healthy food?”

Barton noted that food had an integral role in the causation of conflict. She said, “A hungry man is an angry man.”

“If you think about it this is a hunger pandemic. Now we have COVID which is adding to that, people do not have the income to buy food. The World Food Program and the work we do is more important than ever.”

“Many conflicts around the world have been driven by people feeling marginalised, people not having access to basic needs like food and creating even wars.”

The majority of funding for the World Food Program comes from foreign governments.

She called on people to recognise the linkages between hunger and peace. She said, “There was even a UN resolution.”

The World Food Program recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. Barton said, “When we heard the news in Sri Lanka we were shocked and humbled. It was a complete surprise but we do feel that is a recognition of the dedication of the staff worldwide.”