National Food Systems Dialogue calls for collaborative action to transform country’s food systems
Despite Sri Lanka achieving middle-income status, the country is facing a triple burden of malnutrition spanning undernourishment, over-nourishment and micronutrient deficiency, Minister of Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.
He said so sending a message to the participants of the National Food System Dialogue held recently.
Noting that the agriculture sector is the main contributor of safe and nutritious food for all, the minister reiterated the importance of transforming food systems to make it profitable and socially inclusive with positive impacts on the natural environment. So that food security and nutrition for future generations would not be compromised.
The National Food Systems Dialogue was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture to identify challenges in building sustainable food systems in Sri Lanka, ranging from production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products.
Sri Lanka’s Food System Dialogue is part of a series of national and provincial dialogues conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture ahead of the 2021 UN Food System Summi tset to take place in New York later this year.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, said: “The Summit convened by the Secretary General — part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 — is an opportunity for Member States to identify their own pathways to sustainable food systems and take the necessary action to address these unique challenges. The Summit offers a timely process for helping policy makers and food system actors to better understand the impacts of alternative courses of action and strengthen partnerships and our capacity for collective action.”
The National Food System Dialogue — a high-level virtual meeting of stakeholders from the government, private sector, civil society organisations and development agencies focused on the major challenges affecting the agri-food system in Sri Lanka. The dialogue explored collective actions that are needed to ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all, shift to sustainable consumption patterns, boost environment-friendly production, advance equitable livelihoods across the food systems and build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stressors.
Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Vimlendra Sharan spoke on the need for establishing policy measures and legal frameworks that support sustainable food systems while safeguarding natural resources. Calling for innovative solutions he said, “Solutions of yester-years can’t be the answers for tomorrow. The Food Systems Summit gives us an excellent opportunity to move on from paradigms of the past.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed extreme inequities and inefficiencies in the food system which depend on thousands of food producers and processors, many of whom are living with very low incomes. The pandemic came at a time when food systems were already under strain from natural disasters such as floods and prolonged periods of drought, climate change, and the arrival of transboundary pests and diseases such as Fall Armyworm.”
“The pandemic, despite all its ensuing turbulence, brought about remarkable learning opportunities, demonstrating the importance of preparedness in building resilient food systems,” said Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Sri Lanka. “These national dialogues provide an excellent platform for collective action in reviewing our existing systems, evaluating our options and charting a clear path forward for better food security and nutrition for all.”
“The Food Systems Summit is an opportunity to make fundamental changes in food systems that would make them more equitable and sustainable. IFAD is proud to support the Government of Sri Lanka and work with relevant stakeholders to put smallholder farmers and other rural people at the heart of this process. Leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships can transform food systems,” said Sherina Tabassum, Country Director, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Sri Lanka.
The Food System Dialogues organized by the Government of Sri Lanka led by the Ministry of Agriculture is supported by the UN, FAO, WFP and IFAD. Independent dialogues are also being promoted for individuals and organizations to propose innovative pathways towards sustainable food systems.
The collective outcomes of the Food System Dialogues held in Sri Lanka will inform the UN Food System Summit which will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.
David Cameron kicks off Port City Colombo’s global investment drive
Representatives of top corporates in the UAE, accompanied by high-potential investors, property developers, hotel owners, and leaders in the hospitality and real estate industries, converged on the iconic settings of the Ritz Carlton in Abu Dhabi and the Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa in Dubai to explore, understand, and assess the investment potential of Sri Lanka, with particular emphasis on the transformative Port City Colombo project, a press release said.
The release adds: ‘This elite gathering took place in the presence of the ruling families of the UAE, engaging in a structured conversation led by David Cameron, former British Prime Minister, who outlined a compelling case for investing in Sri Lanka. The discussion was moderated by Niranjan de S Deva Aditya, a former British and European MP, currently serving as the Presidential Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
‘The event was held in partnership with Port City Colombo’s regulatory authority, the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, and the primary developer, CHEC Port City Colombo, with the invaluable support of the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, representing an astounding $12 trillion in assets.
‘David Cameron, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, engaged the audience in an interactive session with his insights on the fast-evolving trade and investment trends in the South-Asian region, the role of the UAE, and the pivotal role of Port City Colombo in transforming the global business landscape.
‘Commenting on Sri Lanka’s recovery over the last few years, Cameron stated that while the country has had its share of challenges, these challenges have also presented ample opportunity, with Port City Colombo at the center of such opportunity. Further commenting on the UAE, Cameron stated, “The UAE is a good case for the potential that can be reached if the right environment is created. I strongly believe Sri Lanka has the potential to reach this, particularly at this point, with all the right reforms taking place and supported by the commitment of President Wickramesinghe.”
‘Sri Lanka’s Banking Guide for Investors & BOI Companies’ launched
Sampath Bank PLC, in collaboration with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) and the Ministry of Investment Promotion, unveiled a comprehensive Banking Guide titled, ‘Sri Lanka’s Banking Guide for Investors and BOI Companies’, a Sampath Bank press release said.
The release adds: ‘The event was held at the Sampath Bank’s corporate office on August 28 with the participation of senior dignitaries from the BOI and Sampath Bank PLC.
‘This Banking Guide serves as a strategic initiative to support the nation’s drive to attract foreign direct investments. It further offers comprehensive banking insights tailored for investors and BOI companies, addressing key areas such as investment accounts, operational banking, borrowing solutions, and related financial services.’
Public Finance Committee calls for report on wheat stocks
SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva has instructed the Auditor General’s Department to estimate the stock of wheat flour currently available in warehouses and submit an audit report within 2 months. He said that if a pricing formula for wheat flour had been adopted, unscrupulous elements would not have been able to exploit consumers.
The matter was discussed when the Committee on Public Finance met recently under the Chairmanship of Dr. de Silva.
The members of the Committee pointed out that wheat flour was sold at different prices. However, according to the prices declared by the Ministry of Finance, one kilo of wheat flour had to be sold at Rs 198.
Recalling the efforts made to prepare a price formula for gas and milk powder last season, the chairman pointed out the need for a price formula for regulating the price of wheat. The Committee emphasised that a price formula should be prepared immediately.
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