The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is working with the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) to hand over ownership of the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SUN Business Network) in Sri Lanka to help maintain nutritional standards to enhance. The handover will enable the SUN Business Network to scale from its current membership base from large private sector organizations to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Sri Lanka faces a triple burden of malnutrition, including over, under and micronutrient deficiencies. Almost every second woman of childbearing age is obese or overweight, while 15 percent of children under the age of five were classified as too thin for their height. These high malnutrition rates are exacerbated by the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19, which threaten to further affect the nutritional standards of the population.
“The eradication of malnutrition cannot be done by one organization alone. It requires coherent efforts from multiple actors, in which companies play a crucial role, ”says Abdur Rahim Siddiqui, Country Director of WFP Sri Lanka. “The SUN Business Network is a fabulous platform for the private sector to jointly plan, invest and innovate solutions that will help improve nutritional standards in the country. We remain committed to the SUN Business Network and are confident that it will continue to grow under the leadership of the FCCISL. “
Ajith D. Perera, General Secretary / CEO of FCCISL, commented on the new strategic venture: “SMEs play a key role in ensuring that all citizens have access to safe and nutritious food. However, the SME ecosystem faces many technical and financial barriers that hinder its progress. We look forward to working with the SUN Business Network and WFP on this path to equip food sector SMEs with the tools they need to overcome such barriers and combat malnutrition in all its forms. “
The SUN Business Network is the only dedicated global business and nutrition platform established with the aim of reducing malnutrition through the involvement and support of companies from various industries. Since its inception in Sri Lanka in March 2019, the SUN Business Network has grown to a membership base of 35 leading private sector organizations, including Cargills Ceylon PLC, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd, Dialog Axiata, Hemas Group and Saaraketha Organics.
The handover is a milestone for the network and marks the transition to the second expansion stage. WFP will continue to strategically support the SUN Business Network and work with FCCISL to expand its reach within the large number of chambers and SMEs of the FCCISL.