Citi Foundation joins UNDP to cultivate 2,600 acres with 5,200 farmers | Daily News

Citi Foundation joins UNDP to cultivate 2,600 acres with 5,200 farmers

MD, Citi Country Office Ravin Basnayake, OIC, UNDP Malin Herwig exchange the agreement
MD, Citi Country Office Ravin Basnayake, OIC, UNDP Malin Herwig exchange the agreement

Citi Foundation has joined hands with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka to pledge its 70 million contribution, with a primary focus on the diversification of agricultural livelihoods; from paddy to cash crops such as cowpea and mung beans under uncultivated minor irrigation tanks, to not only boost stagnant cultivation activities, but to ensure food security and increase farmer income for economic recovery.

In April 2022, a nationally represented survey conducted by UNICEF Sri Lanka showed that 70% of households have reduced their food consumption, primarily due to the rising cost of food and that 73% of households have had their incomes either curtailed or reduced. The ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka has heavily affected the health and food sectors in the country, with severe medical and food supply shortages, availability of basic pharmaceuticals and overall health and wellbeing continuing to be significantly affected. The current crisis has limited the capacity of the country to grow paddy, leaving the resource poor farmers with less or no option to recover.

The grant investment from Citi Foundation will benefit 5,200 vulnerable farmers identified as having limited resources to cultivate 2,600 acres of uncultivated land. Farmers will be provided with opportunities for diversification to cash crops such as cowpea and mung beans for early Maha upland cultivation, which will boost farmers’ expected income by Rs 150,000 for 2.5 months, with a total income increase of Rs 780,000,000.

MD, Citi Foundation, Ravin Basnayake, Managing Director, Citi Country Office – Sri Lanka noted; “Citi Foundation plays a critical role in tackling some of the most pressing challenges globally, working together on social, economic and environmental fronts. The Foundation’s longstanding support to UNDP is a testament to this, and the contribution towards empowering and supporting vulnerable farmers at a time of crisis is vital to boost food security and improve better living standards for all.”

Malin Herwig, Officer in Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka stated, “While Sri Lanka is a primarily self-sufficient agricultural country, many communities are affected by the reduction in food consumption, with resource-poor farmer communities who are vulnerable to climatic and economic shocks in the Dry Zone being severely impacted.”

“It is therefore crucial that we invest in preventing further exacerbation of the current economic hardships, and the partnership with Citi Foundation will create a double effect of supporting both farmers and getting crop to market, addressing some of these pressing issues in both the short and long-term.”

 

 


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