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What are the current issues in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a lower middle income country with a population of 20 million people. Although the 26 year civil war ended in May 2009, the country continues to struggle with the after-effects of the conflict. Despite some reduction in poverty, many people remain displaced by the fighting and land mines contaminate much of the arable land. Sri Lanka is also blighted by recurrent disasters, and was affected by floods and droughts in 2012, 2013 and 2014. These conditions, in combination with high global food prices, have made it difficult for people to cope. An estimated 38 percent of the population (1.1 million people) in the north and east of the country are food insecure and require assistance.

In many food insecure communities in Sri Lanka, households are resorting to borrowing money, eating less and pawning or selling assets to cope, which may further exacerbate poverty or malnutrition for many.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Sri Lanka

School meals programme

The programme provides daily nutritious meals to 160,000 primary and secondary students in 958 schools in the north of the country, where many children remain conflict-affected. WFP distributes rice, dhal and vegetable oil to schools where cooks prepare the meals for students. The Ministry of Education supplements the programme by providing vegetables bought from local farmers. There has been stark improvements in school attendance as a result of this programme. It has also helped make students healthier, more attentive and more active in class.

Mother child health and nutrition

Each year, more than 4,300 pregnant women and nursing mothers, along with over 10,000 infants are given Super Cereal Plus, a maize and soya mix, which is fortified with vitamins and minerals. The objective of the programme is to stabilize and improve their nutritional status, and reduce acute malnutrition.

WFP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, distributes Super Cereal Plus to clinics in the north of Sri Lanka. The programme has significantly improved the nutrition of children aged 5 to 59 months, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers in this part of the country.

Climate change adaptation

WFP Sri Lanka works with the Ministry of the Environment to help more than 14,000 farming families prepare for climate change. The programme focusses on helping vulnerable communities develop adaptation techniques that will preserve food security in the event of flooding or droughts, which are expected to increase in frequency and intensity in coming years


WFP has received funding and in-kind contributions from the governments of Canada, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and USA, as well as multi-lateral and private donors.

Featured Sri Lanka publications

  • Sri Lanka: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 330 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Sri Lanka? Visit the Sri Lanka publications archive.