US supported Rs 2.2 dairy project to double production | Sunday Observer

US supported Rs 2.2 dairy project to double production

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the launch of the dairy project.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the launch of the dairy project.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ambassador Atul Keshap launched a 2.2 billion rupee program ($14.1 million) ‘Market-Oriented Dairy’ project last week, funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was the chief guest.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the main objective of the project is to give money to small scale and middle scale dairy farmers to improve their production s and productivity. This is important as currently the country’s output is, only five liters of milk from one cow.

He said the Government’s plan is to improve the productivity and bring the production up to 10 liters per cow and perhaps to quadruple production finally.

The ‘Market-Oriented Dairy’ project will benefit more than 15,000 Sri Lankan farmers and will focus on the commercial sustainability of the dairy sector and the quality and safety of dairy products.

“Activities funded through this ‘Food for Progress Program’ will help small scale farmers strengthen livestock management capacity and adherence to quality and hygiene best practices, while expanding access to veterinary services,” said Ambassador Keshap.

The project will enhance the capabilities of Sri Lanka’s dairy farmers and partners and is intended to lead to an average annual growth of 18 percent in milk production by 2022. During the course of the four-year project, milk production is expected to grow by 94 % overall. Strengthening the dairy sector will also contribute significantly towards the national initiative of reaching self-sufficiency in dairy production.

Approximately 80 % of the beneficiary farmers will receive a quality-based price premium for their milk. Additionally, participants will receive training to help them create sustainable and profitable businesses. The project will also facilitate financing and investment opportunities and provide support to the newly created ‘All Island Dairy Association’ under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The Market-Oriented Dairy project is funded through USDA’s Food for Progress program ( USDA is partnering with the International Executive Service Corps, the University of Florida, the Global Dairy Platform, and Sarvodaya on the project.