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* U.S. to support dairy industry in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province
Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 01:09 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 20, Colombo: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed an agreement with a major farmer society in Batticaloa District of the Eastern Province to expand the milk production in the East and raise the incomes of 1,200 participating farmers.

A press statement issued by the U. S. Embassy in Colombo said the USAID is partnering with the Manmunai West Livestock Breeders Cooperative Society to increase the quantity and improve the quality of milk production in 24 villages.

The USAID will provide the necessary training and technical assistance to the Farmers to improve milk production.

The project will also link farmers to the dairy industry and ensure that local farmers have a consistent buyer for their milk at fair prices, it said.

Announcing the project the USAID Mission Director, Ms. Rebecca Cohn, said, the agency is supporting the dairy sector in the East because the dairy industry has a tremendous potential, both to individual farmers and to the national economy.

"Sri Lanka imports about 80 percent of the milk consumed here, so there is a large domestic market for increased domestic milk production. Farmers who produce high quality milk need to be connected with the milk processors so they can sell more milk at higher prices, increasing their incomes and bring more economic activity to their communities," Ms. Cohen said.

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