The All Ceylon Milk Producers Federation (ACMPF) expressed serious concern over the existing liquid milk shortage in the country and assured if the Government grants necessary facilities to small and medium scale cattle farmers countrywide, they could produce the country’s liquid milk
requirement to a greater extent and it will also help to curtail milk powder imports.
ACMPF, National organizer Cyril Samaranyaka said the annual fresh milk consumption in Sri Lanka exceeds over 7,000 metric tons and this target could be easily achieved if cattle farm owners are provided with required cattle food including poonac and medicine at considerable prices through Agrarian Service centres or co-operatives since private traders even now sell cattle food at exorbitant prices.
He also focused special attention towards the scarcity of grasslands in the country and said nearly 60 % of lands which had sufficient grass and water earlier have now been cleared by certain powerful individuals with the authority of area divisional secretariats for commercial purposes.
Samaranayaka further said cattle farmers had also been affected with the on-going power cut and also the shortage of diesel and petrol.
Referring to the Government’s proposal of importing milk cows to Sri Lanka to increase the local fleet, the ACMPF, National organizer said importing milking cows spending large sum of foreign exchange is in vain and requested officials not to proceed with that decision since our country has over 1.2 million milk cows to uplift the local dairy industry.
He said providing adequate facilities to farmers is the only solution to resolve the liquid milk shortage rather than importing cattle. He said over 400,000 small scale milking cow farmers are currently engaged in the dairy industry at Hambantota, Ampara, Galle and Moneragala districts
while another large number of people in other areas are also maintaining home based diaries with a few cows.
“In addition large scale dairy farms have been established by private sector industrialists in the Nuwara Eliya and surrounding districts.” he said. He also mentioned the shortage of veterinary surgeons in the milk producing areas and said it is very much needed to treat cows since they are very often affected with various diseases.