Sri Lanka will become self-sufficient in milk by 2016: Basil

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said last week that the Government was in the process of importing the best breeds of dairy cows which would be distributed among the people at reasonable prices to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in milk production by 2016 under the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ vision.

Steps have already been taken to import Jersey and Friesian cows from Australia for hill country farms. Later 10,000 more cows which can adapt to the low country climate will be imported, according to Rajapaksa.

He said this at a ceremony held at the Colombo Port premises in connection with the delivery of 1,500 dairy cows imported from Australia under the second stage of this program. Following the import of 500 cows from Australia under the first stage, their number has today increased to 950, Rajapaksa said.

Addressing those present, he emphasised that since 2005 the Government had been gradually reaching the target of making Sri Lanka self-sufficient in all its food requirements, in line with the President’s hopes.

First the country became self-sufficient in rice with the help of the farming community. In addition, the island is becoming self-sufficient in many more food items such as sorghum and undu.

The Livestock and Rural Development Ministry under Minister S. Thondaman is now working on reaching the target of making the country self-sufficient in fresh milk and dairy products as envisaged by the President.

For the first time after two decades Sri Lanka imported 500 cows a few months ago. It was a great success, the Minister pointed out. Today that number has almost doubled and milk production is at a very high level, making it possible to get twice the quantity of milk than is usually obtained from these cows, of 30 litres or more per day.

They have been given to the farms of the National Livestock Development Board. Their calves will be distributed among individual farmers, according to Minister Rajapaksa. In the coming months the Government is planning to import more cattle which can adapt to the dry zone and other areas.

Rajapaksa noted that it was a great victory for the people that this program was launched jointly by the Economic Development Ministry and the Livestock and Rural Development Ministry, which would soon make it possible to save large sums spent on importing powdered milk.

Livestock and Rural Development Minister Arumugam Thondaman, Agriculture Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Economic Development Deputy Minister Muththu Sivalingam, Disaster Management Deputy Minister Dulip Wijesekera, and MP Thilanga Sumathipala were among those who attended the event.