Working towards self sufficiency in milk production in Sri Lanka

The need to harness the potential of the huge cattle population in Sri Lanka had never been felt so badly before. With the annual import bill for milk rising to a whopping US 300 million dollars, the day has come to take immediate action in reducing the dependence on import and become self sufficient.

Pelwatte Dairies Pvt Ltd had identified the need long ago, when they established their first milk processing plant in Batulla in 2006 as a measure to curb imports. But knowing that milk was collected from only 250,000 out of the 1.2 million milch cows that were available, the need for long term action to improve and sustain the local milk production was felt by the promoters of the company.

The target

To become self sufficient in milk production, the country has to produce 600 million liters of milk each year, which is a very tall order, but not impossible to achieve with proper planning and hard work. The target has to be raised from the current daily average milk yield of 3 liters per cow to 26 liters to match the figures of the developed countries.

The productivity of the cattle and quality of dairy cattle has to be improved, as well as the dairy infrastructure, processing plants and equipments and the farm management services will have to be overhauled. This would lead to increased milk production.

Action plan

From the socio economic point of view, buying milk from local farmers would provide them the necessary financial encouragement to try out the advanced methodologies of increasing productivity. Along with it, better breed of dairy cattle like Jerseys and Friesians have to be imported and integrated with the local breed to improve the genetics. This will definitely increase the production significantly as witnessed in a project undertaken by the National Livestock Board of Sri Lanka where the average production was recorded between 18-21 liters per day.

To ensure quality fodder supply for the cattle, Feed Plants equipped with latest technology have to be set up. The existing dairy farms will have to upgraded to the latest world standards and the same improvement has to be done to the infrastructure that consists of vets and agricultural workers will have to be trained in the current good farming practices of the developed world to be enable to provide the right kind of support to the farms.

Pelwatte Dairies Pvt Ltd is committed to the sustainable growth of the dairy industry in Sri Lanka.