The United Kingdom through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing GBP 880,000 (USD 1,043,395) to strengthen the food and nutrition security of marginal fishers in Tangalle, Negombo, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Puttalam, Chilaw, and Mannar.
In light of World Fisheries Day (21 November) being celebrated this week, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Sarah Hulton OBE announced the support stating “We recognize that the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka has been going through a very difficult period. The UK is contributing £880,000 to help address some of the challenges faced by those working in this industry. The support will focus on increasing access to nutritious food and other essentials for families.”
FAO will utilize the contribution of the British government to support over 5,000 small-scale marine artisanal fishers using non-motorized traditional boats, who have traditionally been amongst the poorest within the fishing community. Eligible fishers will receive 47 USD per month for a period of 3 months in unconditional cash transfers to help affected households meet their essential needs, including immediate food and livelihood requirements.
The Minister of Fisheries, Hon. Douglas Devananda appreciated the support extended to the fisheries community “Fish has traditionally been a primary source of protein and a major source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. We must stand with the fishing community during these times to ensure they can continue their valued work which contributes to the food security and financial stability of the country. I thank the British government and FAO for supporting the community.”
Speaking on the initiative FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Mr Vimlendra Sharan stated “Small-scale fishers have been faced with multiple challenges this year. Reduced fishing days a week, decreased fish catch, and reduced demand due to the fall in purchasing power in rural areas have all significantly impacted this group. As FAO we are committed to protecting the livelihoods of vulnerable fishers during this crisis and thank the United Kingdom for extending their support for the fisheries community.”
Together with its partners, FAO in Sri Lanka is addressing urgent food security needs, protecting the livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and fishers in the most affected districts while promoting agriculture, including in urban settings.