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    Minister Rajitha Meeting with DG-FAO Featured

    June 13, 2014

    Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development met with Mr. Josè Graziano da Silva, Director General of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on last Tuesday, during his participation in the 31st Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, held at FAO Headquarters, Rome.


    While thanking the Director General of FAO for his invitation, Minister appreciated the positive approach of Director General in initiating wide ranging, result -oriented programs for many Countries including Sri Lanka. Minister specially conveyed his appreciation for technical support and  cooperation extended to Sri Lanka and expressed his hope that such cooperation will further strengthen in the years to come,  particularly in  the development of Aqua Culture, an area of  priority for  Sri Lanka. Director General  while extending a warm  welcome the Minister and the delegation,   requested Sri Lanka to identify areas of priority for follow up action by FAO, as appropriate.


    Director General  also commended the  active role played by Sri Lanka in the fisheries sector, in line with the  guidelines and policy framework of FAO. He, Particularly noted with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission sessions in Colombo under the able leadership of Minister.


    While appreciating the comments of Director General (FAO), Minister highlighted the importance of the fisheries sector in addressing nutritional requirements of Sri Lankans and stated that fish provides over 72% of the animal protein intake of the population. In this context, Minister showed the importance of including  fisheries in the agenda of the forthcoming high level FAO/WHO  2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2).  Director General  appreciated Minister’s suggestions and views and agreed to include fisheries as a subject for discussion at ICN2, which is scheduled to be held from 19-21 November 2014, and invited Minister to participate in the ICN2 .


    Minister, on behalf of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa,The President of Sri Lanka, invited Director General, FAO to undertake the visit to Sri Lanka  as early as possible. Director General, while accepting the invitation, conveyed his best wishes to His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the kind invitation. He indicated that this visit may take place in October this year.


    Soon after the meeting with Director General FAO,Hon. Minister was interviewed by FAO Media Division. Responding to the questions raised on ICN2, Minister indicated that ICN2 is a high level conference where important issues can be discussed and suitable programs formulated towards eradicating malnutrition. He indicated that Sri Lanka attaches very high importance to such forums. He also stated that, during his meeting with Director General FAO, he highlighted the importance of including the fisheries sector in the agenda of ICN2 and stated that Director General (FAO) has agreed to his proposal.


    Minister also highlighted that wide ranging  programmes are  being implemented in Sri Lanka to improving the livelihood, food security and nutrition of our population through the fisheries sector. He pointed out that per capita fish intake of Sri Lankans have increased from 22 gm/day in 2009 to 41 grams today. The target is to increase this level up to the WHO recommended 60gm/day, with the objective of eradicating malnutrition from Sri Lanka.


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