Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: FAO and ECHO provide training to improve nutrition in North-East

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Vavuniya, August 4 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and ECHO provided an in-service training programme for Agriculture and Fisheries Instructors from 26 to 28 July 2005. The training was conducted by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Land and Irrigation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the North East Provincial Council.
A total of 43 Agriculture and Fisheries Instructors participated in the training which demonstrated how to enhance micronutrient, protein and energy intake for meals using locally grown horticulture produce, rice and fish. Processing of horticulture produce and fish for preservation and long - term use was also demonstrated as part of the training sessions.

This training is part of the nutrition strategy of FAO's ECHO funded project for US$5 070 000 "Assistance to Tsunami Affected Vulnerable Fishermen and Women in Sri Lanka" which supports beneficiaries in Jaffna, Kilinochi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara.

A wide range of actors took part to ensure the success of this activity including Nutrition Experts from FAO, Medical Research Institute (MRI), Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WFP, CARE International, Equipment Manufacturers, as well as Provincial and District Agriculture and Fisheries Departments.

The next step is to transfer these technologies to the farmer/fisher communities affected by the tsunami through the farm women agricultural extension services and the women rural development society. FAO initiated this through training of women farmers affected by the tsunami in Mullaitivu, Batticaloa and Ampara from 29 July to 2 August.

According to the Post - Tsunami Nutrition Survey carried out in February 2005 by MRI, WFP and UNICEF, the prevalence of underweight children under 5 years of age is as high as 38 percent in the North-East. FAO's nutrition programme is demonstrating how to prepare nutritious meals for emergency situations from available ingredients and food aid materials while taking advantage of the diversity of foods.

FAO is the UN's lead agency for the rehabilitation of the fisheries and agriculture sectors in Sri Lanka. Whilst FAO and the Sri Lankan government's immediate priority following the tsunami disaster has been to get the fishers fishing and farmers farming again as soon as possible, the longer-term strategy is to improve the sectors as a whole with a view to raising the incomes of coastal communities.

For more information contact Mona Chaya, FAO Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Tel: 011-2689363 / 4