Sowing seeds of hope
FAO emergency assistance helps Sri Lanka cope with the effects of conflict and natural disaster
29 October 2004, Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The armed conflict in Sri Lanka in the last two decades has claimed more than 65 000 lives and has resulted in more than 800 000 internally displaced persons and a large number of refugees.
In the north and east of the country, livelihoods have been destroyed, and devastation and land mines confront many returnees. The conflict seriously affected crop, livestock and fisheries production and resulted in levels of poverty not previously seen in the country.
Since the ceasefire in 2002 between the conflicting parties in northeast Sri Lanka, FAO's emergency and rehabilitation programme has provided assistance to returning farmers and other vulnerable groups.
Prior to the conflict, 80 percent of the people of northeast Sri Lanka depended directly or indirectly on agriculture and fishing. The rehabilitation of this important sector, the revitalization of rural economies and the resumption of farming and fishing by those returning to the region, as well as others in the affected areas, are fundamental to the success of the overall peace process.
Working in cooperation with humanitarian partners such as other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations, FAO is providing vulnerable families with the basic inputs and tools to restart agricultural production and strengthen their self-reliance and livelihoods.
FAO is also contributing to agricultural rehabilitation efforts in the southern part of the country, which has been hard hit by natural disaster.
In 2002, rice farmers in the southwest experienced the worst floods in 50 years with a large number of farm families losing not only their crops and seeds but also their homes and belongings. To help in their recovery, FAO has provided rice seed and fertilizer to the worst-affected small-scale rice farmers.
By supporting agricultural livelihood regeneration in communities devastated by man-made and natural disaster, FAO aims to promote peace and reconciliation and strengthen rural economies in Sri Lanka.
Read the related articles listed on the right to learn more about how FAO's emergency programme is helping small-scale farmers and fishers in Sri Lanka get back on their feet.
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