|Saturday, 22 February 2003|
by Uditha Kumarasinghe
A streamlined milk transport and home delivery system to encourage people to consume fresh cows milk and boost the flagging local dairy industry is to be launched by the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry in collaboration with the National Livestock Development Board next month.
This program while popularising the consumption of fresh cows milk will help local dairy farmers to obtain a better price for their produce, said Agriculture, Livestock and Samurdhi Minister S.B. Dissanayaka.
The Minister launching the new Website of the Milco (Pvt) Ltd at a ceremony at the Jaic Hilton, Colombo on Thursday said his Ministry would set up milk packeting centres throughout the country to facilitate this programme.
In addition, special transport systems will be introduced to provide fresh milk to the people at their doorstep, he said.
"Dairy farmers do not get a decent price for their produce at present. Local diary production is running at a loss due to shortcomings of the policies. Therefore immediate measures had to taken to boost the industry encouraging the people to consume fresh milk daily", he said.
Dissanayake said Milco should pay special attention to encourage people to consume more fresh milk and produce other milk products utilising fresh milk. Steps should be taken to induce rearing of milch cows.
The Minister said action will be taken to strengthen and safeguard Milco as a Government enterprise. Milco should remain as a state institution to safeguard the local dairy farmers.
The new Website opened by the Milco would help increase the demand for local milk products and fresh milk. The Government will extend support for efforts made by the Milco to enter into the international market. Milco had to overcome many difficulties during the last 15 years to reach its position.
Dissanayake said: "In 1970s, nearly 80 per cent of the country's dairy requirement were produced locally. Today this has reduced to a mere 19 per cent".
The production of fresh milk has totally declined. The import of milk products had posed a severe threat to the local dairy industry. Foreign vested interests had made attempts to weaken the local dairy industry, he said.
The Minister said the Government should give tax concessions to help uplift the local milk production.
Milco (Pvt) Ltd Chairman Brig. R.P. Liyanage also spoke.
Produced by Lake House