Sri Lanka WFP Building resilience against recurrent natural shocks through the diversification of livelihoods

Project completed

In 2022 Sri Lanka faced a severe economic crisis affecting all, but especially rural communities and small holder farmers. Switzerland has a migration partnership with Sri Lanka, and has therefore a special interest to support the population. With this proposal, Switzerland contributes to a multi-year resilience and early recovery programme of the World Food Programme, and fills a critical short term funding gap between two phases. The support enables farmers to diversify their livelihoods.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Sri Lanka
Agriculture & food security
Household food security
Agricultural water resources
Sector not specified
01.11.2022 - 30.06.2023
CHF  800’000

Sri Lanka’s economic and subsequently the political crisis significantly affected the lives of people and their ability to sustain themselves and their families. For the first time in the history, the Government of Sri Lanka has defaulted on its debts payments and declared bankruptcy in July 2022. In addition, Sri Lanka has always been very prone to natural disasters. 

Due to soaring inflation, low and unstable incomes, indebtedness, high youth unemployment resulting in large-scale outward migration, smallholder farmers have barely been able to survive. The agricultural sector has come under immense pressure due among others to rising input prices and unavailability of fuel. As a consequence the number of people being malnourished has increased significantly. 

The UN OCHA launched emergency appeals in March 2022, appeals of UNICEF and WFP followed. 

As WFP is engaged since 2017 in a longer-term program to support the farmers through the Resilience, Risk, Recovery, Reconstruction and nutrition project, Switzerland decided to contribute to this programme to cover additional communities.

Objectives Building resilience against recurrent natural shocks (including the recent political and economic crisis) through the diversification of livelihoods for vulnerable rural communities.
Target groups

5,400 households (1’890 women and 3’510 men led households), 21’600  indiviuals

-    The rehabilitation of 76 irrigation schemes will benefit app. 2200 households

-    Assets including wells, farm ponds, microirrigation activities will benefit 900 households

-    Livelihood support will benefit 1900 households

-    Vocational training will be provided to 40 individuals

-    Market linkages will benefit at least 400 households


76 farmer organisations

Medium-term outcomes

Supporting vulnerable rural farming communities to cope with recurrent shocks, and aid early recovery: this has been done by increasing the resilience of smallholder farmers to drought by establishing water harvesting systems, promoting diversified livelihoods and strengthening the capacity of vulnerable farming communities for commercial production. 

-    Improve the access to water for farming in the dry months

-    Increase household incomes

-    Strengthening Community-based organisations / producer groups and link them to markets


Expected results:  

-    76 irrigation schemes and anicuts (check dam for irrigation) rehabilitated benefiting app. 2200 households

-    1900 households have increased income by 30% 

-    1900 households diversified their livelihoods 

-    76 farmer organisations practicing better Operation & Management

-    Vocational training will be provided to 40 individuals

-    Market linkages will benefit at least 400 households 

-    More than 70% of targeted smallholder farmers reporting increased production of nutritious crops, disaggregated by sex of smallholder farmers  

Results from previous phases:  

During the previous phase of its resilience building project, WFP assisted 50,000 people across 13 districts (2017 – 2019). Phase II (the “R5n” project) commenced in 2019, to enhance the resilience of 21,000 families across 5 climate shock-prone districts through the following:  

-    Establishment and rehabilitation of water harvesting facilities.

-    Resilience building through training, diversification of livelihoods and market orientation for improved commercial production. 

-    Promoting nutrition through crop diversification. 

-    Partnerships to scale up the impact of the project.  

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • World Food Programme

Coordination with other projects and actors The project has been be implemented by WFP in close coordination with the Government of Sri Lanka, ILO, UNFPA and the donor KOICA.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    800’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    800’000
Project phases

Phase 1 01.11.2022 - 30.06.2023   (Completed)