WFP finds 32 percent of Lankan households are food insecure

The latest statistics by the World Food Programme shows that 32 percent of Lankan households are food insecure.

“Over the past four months, food security levels have remained above the 30 percent range. Wholesale traders have reported a decline in prices of essential food commodities, attributing it to the recent release of food stocks in local markets. Additionally, there has been a decrease in vegetable prices due to revamping of the disrupted supply chain”, says the Remote Household Food Security Survey Brief of the WFP.

It said:  “Households across the country continue to turn to food and livelihood-based coping strategies. Seven in ten households (73 percent) are adopting food-based coping strategies, and 68 percent of households are consuming less preferred food. Food and fuel prices remain a prime concern for many households. Fifty one percent of households are purchasing food on credit. Consumption of adequate diets remains low. Thirty percent of households are facing insufficient food consumption, with 40 percent consuming limited portions. Female-headed households continue to fare worse than male-headed households. Households in the estate and rural areas experienced higher levels of acute food insecurity than those in urban areas in January. Similar disparities can be found across income sources. The ongoing maha season harvest (February – March is likely to improve the situation. Despite the ongoing harvest season, a combination of factors such as less land cultivated, lower yields and the ongoing economic crisis could result in a short-lived food security situation.

“Thirty two percent of households are facing acute food insecurity in January, which continues to be of concern. Food insecurity levels are observed to be fluctuating in the thirties over the last four months. Compared to December, there was a marginal decrease in food insecurity levels in January. Severe food insecurity levels stood at 1.3 percent in January, almost similar to the past three months levels.

“The Uva province reported the highest number of food insecure households in January, followed by Sabaragamuwa. Generally, there was a marginal increase in food insecurity in Western, Uva and North Central provinces in January. Western province, however, saw a decrease of 10 percentage points. The highest number of households (84 percent) turning to food based coping strategies were from the Western province. In January, as in December, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces had the highest percentage of households that are food insecure.”

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