US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Alaina B. Teplitz recently met dairy farmers benefiting from a Rs. 2.2 billion program ($14.1 million) ‘Market-Oriented Dairy’.
The project is estimated to increase milk production by 94 per cent by 2022 and will help make Sri Lanka’s dairy production and the livelihood of thousands of dairy farmers more sustainable and profitable.
“Farmers are the backbone of the economy and this project helps the country meet its goal of reaching self-sufficiency in dairy products,” said Ambassador Teplitz.
Assisting more than 15,000 Sri Lankan farmers, the project focuses on increasing the dairy sector’s commercial sustainability, quality and safety.
Farmers receive training on best practices such as providing clean water to animals 24/7 and better feed techniques. For instance, feeding better quality grass that are chopped to the right size and mixed with concentrate feed can increase milk yield by two to three litres per day per cow.
Participating farmers have achieved remarkable results since the project was launched in May last year. Seventy per cent have increased milk production and 68 per cent increased milk quality after adopting best practices. On average, farmers with about six milking cows have increased their income by at least Rs. 25,000–30,000 per month.
The Market-Oriented Dairy project is funded through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress program. USDA is partnering with the International Executive Service Corps, the University of Florida, the Global Dairy Platform and Sarvodaya on the project.