May 18, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says a joint venture dairy production project launched yesterday in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture will strengthen the rural economy while increasing the production of fresh milk.
The Premier said the 14.1 million US dollars Market Orientated Dairy Project implemented by the US based International Executive Service Corps will increase production and quality of fresh milk while reducing dependence on imports and improving health.
Speaking at the launch of the Market-Oriented Dairy Project at the Movenpick Hotel, Colombo, the Prime Minister said the ambitious project is also expected to increase productivity and competitiveness of rural farmers strengthening the island's rural economy.
The Prime Minister said the project, which will run for four and a half years was a part of government's initiatives to uplift the rural economy.
"The main objective is to give money to small-scale and middle-scale dairy farmers to improve their productions and productivity. The project will help small and medium scale dairy farmers and other dairy related businesses to meet growing demand by increasing productivity and expanding the trade of milk and dairy products," he said.
"We expect to provide necessary funds and assistance to small and medium scale dairy farmers to increase their production" Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister said the small scale dairy farmers produce around four to five liters of milk from one cow per day and the project targets to increase it up to 10 liters per day as the first step. He said that in the long run, the farmers will be able to quadruple the production compared to their present day production.
The project targets an average annual growth of 18 percent in milk production from 15,000 small and medium-scale dairy farmers and during the course of the project, milk production is expected to grow by 94% overall.
Approximately 80% of the beneficiary farmers will receive a quality-based price premium for their milk. Additionally, participants will receive training to help them create sustainable and profitable businesses.
Market-Oriented Dairy Project will also connect buyers, sellers, suppliers, and service providers, along the dairy value chain with up-to-date information and communication technology platforms.
The Prime Minister further said similar projects would improve rural economy and the living standard of the small and medium dairy farmers. He said the government will strengthen and grow country's dairy sector. He thanked the US government and US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap for their support.