Sri Lanka

WFP to purchase rice for food security in Sri Lanka

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COLOMBO, Jul 2, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The World Food Program (WFP) has decided to purchase 18,130 metric tons of rice stock from Sri Lankan farmers to offer to local people living in tsunami affected areas, the official Daily News reported on Saturday.

The agreement on this rice purchasing program was signed between WFP Country Director Jeff Taft Dick and Sri Lanka Agriculture, Livestock and Lands Ministry Secretary Tissa Warnasuriya at a ceremony in Colombo recently.

"This is the largest amount of rice stock purchased by an international organization from local farmers. According to this agreement, the WFP has pledged to invest 5.19 million US dollars towards this rice purchasing exercise," an Agriculture Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.

Japanese and Australian governments have pledged to provide financial allocations to the WFP for this rice purchasing program.

This entire rice stock purchased by the WFP will be utilized for food security in Sri Lanka and will be mainly distributed among the people in tsunami affected areas free of charge.

Therefore, this rice purchasing exercise will help keep the paddy and rice prices at a stable level while employment opportunities will be created for Sri Lankans to transport and distribute rice, the paper said.