(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed officials to implement a short-term and long-term plan in collaboration with the public, private sectors and small-scale farmers to meet the local demand for liquid milk.
The President stressed the need to improve grass cultivation, dairy cow breeding and research institute services in order to achieve the set targets expeditiously.
President Rajapaksa made these remarks during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat today (14) on the future activities of the State Ministry of Livestock Farm Promotion and Dairy and Egg Related Industries.
Less than 40% of the country’s annual liquid milk requirement is produced locally. As a result, people are deprived of the opportunity to consume nutritious fresh liquid milk. The President has pledged to increase liquid milk production in the next decade in his National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.
The Government intends to expand the research activities that would help in introducing new breeds of dairy cattle suitable for different geographical areas of the country.
During this meeting the cultivation of high quality grasses and cattle feed production to increase the production of milk, was discussed at length.
Small scale dairy farmers provide 85% of the total liquid milk production. ‘They should be strengthened and steps should be taken to increase the percentage’, said Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, the Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival. Farmers are discouraged due to the rising cost of production per liter of milk. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa pointed out the need to provide dairy farmers cattle feed including grasses under concessionary rates. It was pointed out that farmers should be encouraged at the institutional level to produce animal feed needed for both the public and private sector.
While highlighting the importance of involvement of the Central Environmental Authority in resolving issues related to animal husbandries, the President said that these measures should not be a burden on the farmer.
Mr. Basil Rajapaksa said animal farms run traditionally should not be closed down based on complaints by the public without conducting an investigation.
Measures have been taken to rear 15,000 milking cows with the assistance of 15 estate companies with the aim of increasing the dairy production, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.
Expanding the production of chicken and eggs and diverting large scale producers to the export market was also discussed during the meeting. Investors of the private sector said they anticipate foreign exchange earnings of USD 16 million in 2020 by exporting eggs, chicken and related products.
Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Secretaries to Cabinet and State Ministries, heads of line institutes and several private-sector investors were also present during the meeting.