The President expressed these views while addressing the Virtual Plenary of the UN Food SystemsbSummit.
The UN Food Systems Summit commenced in New York yesterday (23) in parallel to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly. UN Secretary-General António Guterres made the keynote remarks of the Summit organised under the theme ‘Accelerating Action for the Future We Want.’ While addressing the Summit, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pointed out that the Covid-19bpandemic has exposed weaknesses in global food systems and that it will only be worsened with climate change.
Sustainable food systems are part of Sri Lanka’s rich sociocultural and economic heritage, the President said and added that the step taken by the Government to ban chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and weedicides that led to adverse health and environmental impacts, was a crucial point in the state policy on sustainable development.
The President pointed out that changing the mindset of farmers long accustomed to using chemical fertilizers was difficult and the production of sufficient quantity of organic fertiliser domestically was challenging. “Sri Lanka welcomes technical assistance and bilateralbsupport in this regard,” he said.
The President appreciated the technical assistance of the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme provided to Sri Lanka, and thanked for the support of other global organisations and scientific bodies in this regard. President Rajapaksa said that it should be the aim of all state leaders to ensure a better future for our people and our planet, and that everyone must work together to find solutions to the universal challenges we will have to face in the future in this regard.
The President also expressed optimism that the Summit will help facilitate the transformation of the global food systems to one that can better foster the health of both humanity and our planet. It is essential to enhance market oriented inclusive food value chains in order to reduce rural poverty when fostering organic agriculture.
“Through such improvements, I am confident Sri Lankan will be able to sustainably transform its food system and ensure greater food security and better nutrition for its people,” the President said.