Nutritious food beyond reach of low-income families – By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Nutritious food beyond reach of low-income families – By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Nutritious food beyond reach of low-income families - By Nadia Fazlulhaq

Source : sundaytimes

Local dairy milk powder prices were increased this week, another blow to families relying on low cost options.

A 400g pack of local milk powder was increased from between Rs. 830 Rs 850 to Rs. 950 nearing the price of an imported milk powder pack priced at Rs 1,160.

“Fresh milk has gone up to Rs. 460. Keeping milk refrigerated is an issue because of power cuts. Local dairy manufacturers deciding to increase their prices is a concern for families with children,” said Sandamali, a mother of two from Kaduwela.

The price of a cup of yogurt which was Rs. 35 a year ago is now Rs. 70. Those who used to have yogurt for dessert no longer choose it. Butter has been replaced with fat spreads in many households.

“Local dairy manufacturers are suffering from increased costs of raw material, feed and at the same time seeing a big drop in sales. Even if we go for price increases, the farmer benefits very little,” said Binesh Pananwala, president of the All Island Dairy Association.

Many of the essential nutrient rich foods are costly. Protein is no longer affordable for low and middle income families.

An egg that was Rs.18 in September 2021, is sold for Rs. 49-Rs 50. A kilo of dried sprats that was Rs. 900 last year is now just over Rs. 2,000. Even the price of the smallest fresh fish, saalaya has increased from Rs. 256 in last year to Rs. 620 now. Chicken is a luxury for many families with Rs.500/per kg last year, but now sold for Rs. 1,400-Rs 1,500.

Some children now forego milk in their cup of tea. Pic by Eshan Fernando

Almost all rice varieties cost 100% more. The price of dhal, green grams, and chickpeas, has risen twofold. Prices of vegetables and potatoes have also gone up.

Consultant medical nutritionist Dr. Renuka Jayatissa said global food insecurity, the local forex crisis and the coming winter will mean a reduction in imported dry rations and animal feed.

“This issue will be there for some years to come. Added to that is the coming monsoon season that will affect paddy and other cultivations. We have to prepare to face difficult times ahead with many people being forced to manage with a bare minimum diet,” she warned.

She said both the state and families should ensure children under three years get the nutrition needed for brain development.

“Grains, dairy and protein play a major role along with fruit and vegetables. Adolescents need nutrition as they enter adulthood,” Dr. Jayastissa said, requesting families to avoid cutting down nutrient rich food from meals of pregnant women and elderly.

Comments are closed.