Sri Lanka (MNN) — Famine looms in Sri Lanka. The number of people in need doubled over the past six months, the United Nations reports. Two-thirds of Sri Lankan families say they cannot meet their household food needs.
Some turn to home gardens to survive. A 2010 survey of northern Sri Lanka found:
On average, each gardener cultivated nine plants on less than an acre of land, providing a steady supply of “fresh and nutritionally rich” produce, such as eggplant, okra, green chile, and long beans, sometimes additional income.
Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948. According to the World Bank, the national poverty rate nearly doubled between 2021 and 2022. Months of protests against high prices and shortages of food, fuel, and medicine led to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ouster in July.
Pastor Clarence leads FARMS Lanka, a FARMS International partner. “[People are] suffering because prices of essential food items and other things are higher. Many people lost their jobs,” he says in broken English.
“[Some people have brought] their jewelry to [sell at] the shops to survive.”
Years ago, FARMS Lanka introduced a microcredit program to help believers work out of poverty. “We started many income-generating projects with people around the country [through the] churches,” Pastor Clarence says.
Today, “we have lost many projects because the cost of living [has gone up], and the cost of poultry food, piggery food; also fertilizer. We have asked our creditors to cut down the projects to a smaller level that can be [maintained].”
With program plans reduced by the national crisis, FARMS Lanka shifted focus. “Churches [are] playing a big role at this time, and we are taking more responsibility” for our neighbors, Pastor Clarence says.
“Jesus said, ‘Bear one another’s burden.’ This is a good time to be good stewards toward God and our fellow citizens.”
In partnership with local church networks, FARMS Lanka distributes food aid to needy families. Pray people will come to know Christ as they see His love in word and deed.
Header image depicts a woman harvesting fresh tea leaves in Sri Lanka. (Photo courtesy of Elina Sazonova/Pexels)