Sri Lanka will contribute 50,000 metric tons of rice to the World Food Program (WFP) to thank the latter for its assistance in the past to feed people displaced by internal conflict, tsunami and various other natural disasters, the government said Friday.
This was proposed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2014 budget, who spoke highly of the WFP for providing food for the needy people who are faced with difficult situations around the world and looked forward to strengthening the relationship with the WFP.
The government will spend more than 3 billion rupee (22.9 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the donation, which includes 10,000 tons of rice for local WFP program and 40,000 tons for other member countries of the WFP.
Announcing the donation, the government noted that Sri Lanka has turned from a rice recipient country under the WFP into a donor country as it has achieved self-sufficiency in rice supply. According to the Finance Ministry, Sri Lanka recorded its highest paddy production in 2013 at 4.6 million tons.
Sri Lanka has applied to register as a commercial supplier of rice under the WFP, and the WFP has extended its full cooperation to the government in this regard, the ministry said, adding the WFP would open a new pathway for Sri Lankan suppliers to ship surplus rice to international markets.
The WFP has also agreed to provide technical assistance to help improve the quality of Sri Lankan rice production. This would help local rice producers to produce high quality rice in line with international standards.