Govt. to enhance local dairy production to overcome shortages
The Government has taken prompt action to boost locally produced dairy products, to prevent any shortages in the market following the ban on the importation of several diary products .
Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture is still to take any step towards the development of dairy sector although it has signed a memorandum of understanding in June to implement a US$27 million project.
It is aimed to double the milk production of Sri Lankan dairy farmers under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Food for Progress” initiative.
Top officials of the Agriculture Ministry should redouble their efforts to make this initiative a reality otherwise the country will lose much needed dolar assistance as an unutilised grant.
The Agriculture Ministry said attention has been drawn to producing dairy products such as butter, cheese, milk powder, and yoghurt, following the temporary ban imposed by the Government on the import of 300 products.
The move comes following an industry review meeting chaired by Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera with officials of the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) and the MILCO Ltd.
Noting the shortage of animal feed in the country, the production of liquid milk has dropped by about 34%, and the liquid milk quantities received by the two companies have also reduced considerably.
Taking the facts into consideration, the Agriculture Minister has directed officials to prioritise the production of the most demanded and essential products such as milk powder.
He has also advised officials to promote liquid milk consumption among the public, as it was more nutritious and economical for the consumers and industries.It was pointed out that producing a kilo of milk powder, requires over four litres of liquid milk.
“US aided Food for Progress” project began in late 2017 and has already benefited 25,000 Sri Lankan dairy farmers, increasing their milk production by an average of 68 percent to date.
An estimated 80,000 Sri Lankans will ultimately receive assistance from this program, as part of the United States’ continued efforts to support food security and economic growth in Sri Lanka.
After unforeseen delays including the COVID pandemic, the U.S. Embassy and the Sri Lankan Department of Agriculture renewed this partnership agreement two months ago.
Food for Progress’ Market-Oriented Dairy Project partners with a U.S. non-profit organization called the International Executive Service Corps to help Sri Lankan farmers increase dairy production by providing them with the skills they need to improve farm operations and management.
It will also provide better access to financing, so farmers can expand their businesses and reach new markets.