Dutch support to raise Sri Lanka dairy yields, quality

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka can improve the productivity of its dairy farmers by going for bigger farms to give economies of scale and simple techniques to make cows feel better, according to visiting Dutch experts.

The Netherlands, also a small country like Sri Lanka, started off with small farms with only few cows but had now grown to become the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products, said Sara Knijff.

“Now we have larger scale of farming and new, very sustainable techniques in the whole chain of dairy production,” said Knijff, Director International Agriculture of the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs.

“Techniques such as improving fodder, making the cow the centre of the production chain,” she told a news conference. “If the cow is happy and she is in good condition then the whole value chain of dairy profits from it. This expertise we can export.”

Knijff, who lead a Dutch dairy industry trade mission to the island, said Sri Lanka’s dairy sector could do better with bigger farms and improve the quality of its milk by simple methods like improving fodder.

The next phase of growth could be to have larger scale farming to be self-sufficient in milk since increasing production of small farmers is not enough.

The small scale of many farms could also be the reason for the high cost of production, she said.

Local production was also labour intensive.

“In the Netherlands we have larger scale farms and more processing factories which are more efficient and have lower costs.”

Frederik Vossenaar of the Agro Business Development Unit of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, said farmers were using water to cool cows but could do better by using simple fans to make the animals comfortable.

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