The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is partnering 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. The handover will enable the SUN Business Network to scale up from its current member base of large private sector organisations to include Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Sri Lanka faces a triple burden of malnutrition spanning overnutrition, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Nearly one in two women of reproductive age are obese or overweight, while 15% of children under five were noted as being too thin for their height. These high rates of malnutrition are compounded by the socio-economic fallout from COVID-19, which threatens to further impact the nutrition standards of the population.
“Eradicating malnutrition cannot be done by one organisation alone. It requires cohesive efforts from multiple actors, within which businesses play a critical role,” says WFP Sri Lanka Country Director Abdur Rahim Siddiqui. “The SUN Business Network is a fabulous platform for the private sector to collectively plan, invest and innovate in solutions which help improve nutrition 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.”
Commenting on the new strategic venture, FCCISL Secretary-General/CEO Ajith D. Perera said, “SMEs play a pivotal role in ensuring all citizens have access to safe and nutritious food. However, the SME ecosystem faces many technical and financial barriers inhibiting their progress. We are excited to join hands with the SUN Business Network and WFP on this journey to equip food sector SMEs with the tools necessary to overcome such barriers and combat malnourishment in all forms.”
The SUN Business Network is the only dedicated global platform for business and nutrition, formed with the aim to reduce malnutrition by engaging and supporting businesses across different industries. Since its launch in Sri Lanka in March 2019, the SUN Business Network has grown to a member base of 35 leading private sector organisations, including Cargills Ceylon PLC, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Dialog Axiata, Hemas Group and Saaraketha Organics.
The handover is a milestone for the network, marking a transition to its second phase of expansion. WFP will continue to provide strategic support to the SUN Business Network, working with FCCISL to help enhance its reach within FCCISL’s large base of chambers and SMEs.