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President directs officials to boost liquid milk production in Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has directed officials to implement short and long-term plans in collaboration with the public and private sectors and small-scale farmers to meet Sri Lanka’s demand for liquid milk, the president’s office said.

At a discussion yesterday, Rajapaksa had stressed on the need for improved grass cultivation, dairy cow breeding and research institute services in Sri Lanka, in line with an election pledge to increase liquid milk production in the country over the next decade.

According to a statement from the president’s office, the government intends to expand ongoing research into new breeds of dairy cattle that will be suitable for different geographical areas of the country.

The cultivation of high-quality grasses and cattle feed production had also figured prominently in yesterday’s discussion that was attended by Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. and officials of the State Ministry of Livestock Farm Promotion and Dairy and Egg Related Industries.

Small-scale dairy farmers who contribute 85% of liquid milk production should be strengthened and steps should be taken to increase the percentage, the statement quoted Basil Rajapaksa as saying. Providing farmers cattle feed including grasses under concessionary rates was also discussed, the statement said, adding a decision was made to encourage farmers at the institutional level to produce animal feed needed for both the public and private sectors.

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 was quoted as saying.

In January this year, Sri Lanka’s farmgate fresh milk prices soared around 20 per cent in some areas amid tighter supplies and competition from milk processors, as global whole milk prices also picked up. That same month, the government raised a state-mandated floor price for liquid milk to 70 rupees a litre from 50 rupees in 2015 which has been unchanged in 2018.

However, contract milk collectors pre-pandemic were paying farmers around 80 to 85 rupees, while some dairy processors were paying over 90 rupees for a liter delivered to their factories, based on volumes, according to industry officials. (Colombo/Sep15/2020)

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