Mega farms to transform dairy industry | Sunday Observer

Mega farms to transform dairy industry

12 December, 2021

With the changing investment climate in the post-Covid world, the Government has taken steps to increase milk production with an ambitious investment project to transform the local dairy industry into a large-scale business enterprise. The Agriculture Ministry has to spend an additional Rs. 1,000 million on its projects this year.

Director General, Department of Animal Production and Health, Dr. K.A.C. Hemali A. Kothalawala, said yesterday that the main parameters of the project include adjusting investment and production measures to construct dairy mega-farms and scaling up smallholder dairy farms, and turning them into small and medium enterprises.

She said this in response to a question from the Sunday Observer about the implications of Finance Minister Basil Rajapksa’s statement that milk powder imports will be reduced and that the public sector will focus heavily on boosting the dairy industry as the Government’s green agriculture policy remains unchanged.

“Six investors have already begun setting up large-scale dairy farms around the country, and the Ministry of Agriculture is playing an important role in helping these investments. All six investors are local businessmen,” she said. “To demonstrate the practicality of investments in the dairy cattle business,” she said, “the Government has made preparations to support the import of high yielding cows from Australia.” “Private investors imported around 130 highly productive cattle from Australia recently, and they are expected to import about 15,000 cows with the assistance of the Government,” she said.“The process of replacing pedigree cattle with the best of the gene pool will be increased under this initiative to assure qualitative improvements in dairy cow breeding to produce highly productive herds,” she said. The Department of Animal Production and Health will provide assistance to the investors and the small dairy holders to maintain the health of their cattle. It will provide them with advice, regulatory and animal quarantine services, she said.

“Thousands of small dairy farmers will benefit from this program as they will be transformed into small and medium entrepreneurs. Of the 250,000 dairy farmers, 7,000 will become small and medium entrepreneurs in the first year, under the project,” she said.

The project will enable about 3,000 farmers to produce more than 100 litres per day (per farmer), she said. “For this we will need quality pasture.”

The mega dairy farms will mainly be in the Kandy and the Nuwara Eliya districts and also in the North Eastern and North Western areas.