‘New technology will help dairy sector enhance production’ | Sunday Observer

‘New technology will help dairy sector enhance production’

The quality of  liquid milk is a crucial issue
The quality of liquid milk is a crucial issue

The country’s dairy industry has huge potential with efforts being made to change the mindset of consumers to replace powdered milk consumption with liquid milk, President, All Island Dairy Association, Nishantha Jayasooriya told a seminar on ‘Challenges in meeting emerging trends in the dairy industry’ in Colombo last week.

It was organised by the All Island Dairy Association and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

As the dairy industry has recorded slow progress over the years, infusion of new technology will enable the sector to grow at a more rapid pace enhancing production capacity, he said.

Over 75 percent of the dairymen are small scale farmers and the value chain needs improvements. However, there is a rising trend in small farmers becoming midsize farmers and midsize farmers reaching the next level and the corporate sector entering the industry, Jayasooriya said.

“The local dairy industry faces many challenges and they have become critical, due to emerging trends in the global marketplace. The most crucial issue is the quality of liquid milk and productivity. The farmers need to increase output and production and very little concern has been shown in improving quality. This has hampered the value-addition process and increased wastage of the milk collected, he said. “Farmers often find it difficult to sell their milk as it is rejected due to quality issues.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a mechanism to educate them with regard to quality to gain maximum advantage. Measures need to be taken to uplift production and quality to enable better output as quality and quantity go hand-in-hand,” Jayasooriya said.

Sri Lanka records the second highest milk production cost and cost effective measures should be in place to address this issue. The high cost also affects the value addition process and this has posed challenges to local dairy farmers.

While stressing the importance of an effective regulatory framework, Jayasooriya said that the regulator is working for the betterment of the industry. There are rapid changes taking place in the local dairy industry at present. The retail landscape is changing and consumers will have different shopping expectations and demands to be fulfilled in the future, he said.

The total national cow milk production in 2010 was 196 million litres and it grew up to 327 million litres in 2017. Buffalo milk production was 68.6 million litres in 2017 and total milk production in 2017 was 396 litres.

Forty percent of the country’s milk requirement is supplied locally and 60 percent from imported milk powder. Nearly US $ 300 million is spend on milk powder imports annually.