Sri Lanka: USAID Seeks Dairy Industry Solutions

SRI LANKA - More than thirty representatives of the private and public sectors discussed strategies to improve the dairy industry in Sri Lanka so it can reduce dependence on imported milk powder and encourage economic development in the conflict-affected East.
calendar icon 30 November 2007
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Most Sri Lankan dairy farmers today like this woman eke out a business with only a few cows

The discussion was hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which will launch a new project next year called Connecting Regional Economies (CORE) focusing on improving rural value chains in the Eastern and North Central Provinces.

Dairy industry participants at the roundtable reported that Sri Lanka imported 70,000 metric tons of milk powder at a cost of 17 billion rupees last year, a figure expected to double in 2007.

They were optimistic, however, that improving domestic production of fresh milk could reduce the country’s dependence on imported powder, boost the economy, and improve children’s health.

“We have all read about doubling of the price of imported milk powder in the last year indicating a huge demand for milk due to short supply worldwide,” USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn told the November 16 gathering at the American Center. “Energizing the local dairy sector would not only help meet this great demand and bring down prices, but also give a much needed boost to local economies long suffering from more than two decades of conflict.”

Coordination between small-scale farmers and larger farms could also potentially benefit rural households in terms of income, employment, and access to technology and dairy management practices. Also highlighted was the importance of private sector investments, donors’ support and government allocation of infrastructure such as grazing lands, to create a sustainable environment for private sector-ld dairy growth similar to that in the poultry industry.

Source: AsianTribune
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