US assists more than 15,000 Sri Lankan dairy farmers

The United States is assisting more than 15,000 Sri Lankan farmers through a project which focuses on increasing the dairy sector’s commercial sustainability, quality and safety, the US Embassy in Colombo said today.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz met with dairy farmers who are benefiting from a SLR 2.2 billion program ($14.1 million) called “Market-Oriented Dairy.”

The project is estimated to grow milk production by 94 percent by 2022 and will help make Sri Lankan dairy production – and the livelihood of thousands of dairy farmers – more sustainable and profitable.

“Farmers are the backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy and this project helps the country meet its goal of reaching self-sufficiency in dairy production,” said Ambassador Teplitz.

Farmers receive training on best practices such as providing clean water to animals 24/7 and better feed techniques. For instance, feeding better quality grasses that are chopped to the right size and mixed with concentrate feed can increase milk yield by two to three liters per day per cow.

Participating farmers have achieved remarkable results since the project launched in May 2018. Seventy percent have increased milk production and 68 percent increased milk quality after adopting best practices. On average, farmers with about six milking cows have increased their income by at least SLR 25,000 – 30,000 per month, the US Embassy said.

The Market-Oriented Dairy project is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress program (www.fas.usda.gov/programs/food-progress). USDA is partnering with the International Executive Service Corps, the University of Florida, the Global Dairy Platform, and Sarvodaya on the project.

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