Sri Lanka to import more than a million cows – Agriculture Minister
ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka will launch an ambitious program to be nearly self-sufficient in liquid milk aiming to meet most of the national demand by 2024, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Parliament today.
The minister said that the government hopes to self-sustain Sri Lanka with liquid milk while eliminating the need for milk powder.
Aluthgamage said that even though there are about 1.2 million milking cows in the country only 250,000 are milked and only 4600 million litres of milk out of the annual national demand of 7200 million litres are being produced locally.
He added that the government will use three methods in the next four years to cover at least 80-pct of the national demand.
He said that the government will seek to increase the average milk produced by a cow to 5 litres from the current average of 3 litres and to provide all the necessary food, water and cattle barns needed for the cows.
“We have allocated Rs 400 million to do that and another Rs 300 million from Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP),” he added.
Then the government expects to impregnate about 200,000 cows which are not getting pregnant through Artificial Insemination (AI) by recruiting and training people to do it.
And as the third method government expects to import 1.5 million milking cows though discussions with large scale dairy companies in the country.
“As the first phase of that, two companies have agreed to import 5000 milking cows and a cabinet paper will be presented to the cabinet in order to give them lands,” he added.
Sri Lanka has imported dairy products worth of USD 302.7 million between Jan -Nov 2020, while dairy produced worth of USD 311.9 million and USD 332.3 million were imported respectively in 2019 and 2018.
There are over 300,000 liquid milk production farms in Sri Lanka and Milco, Pelawatte Dairies and Nestle Lanka produce milk powder locally.
Dairy products are mainly imported from New Zealand and Australia, other countries include Denmark, the Netherlands and India. (Colombo/Feb10/2021)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe