“No day comes, back again; an inch of time is worth a foot of jade,”
while time is being wasted without realising the value of this land for
dairy industry, Minister C. B. Ratnayaka’s attempt to increase the milk
production by 50 per cent by 2020 is a new vision which every citizen of
this country should appreciate.
From the early 80s to date, I have worked as a practical field
veterinarian in many parts of the country and the upcountry. I can vouch
that the landscape, climate and the other environmental conditions of
our country is ideally suitable for dairy farming.
When there is a national concern about the raising prices of milk
powder one hopes that the Livestock Minister’s programme would be
practical and beneficiary to the dairy farmers and the consumers.
Around 24.5 per cent of the Sri Lankan population are between the age
groups of one year and 14 years, out of which 1.4 million children are
reported to suffer from malnutrition according to a WHO report.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends around two glasses of
milk for school going children onwards. To achieve this, Sri Lanka needs
to produce 2.9 billion litres of liquid milk per annum.
The current production of liquid milk production stands at 550
million litres (Approximately 17 per cent of milk produced). On an
average, Sri Lankans consume only 25 litres of milk per annum, which
falls much below the WHO recommendation of 146 litres of milk per year.
Most rural Sri Lankans now reconstitute milk powder for making tea
and coffee. The consumption of liquid milk in the villages and the rural
area is very poor. It’s only in Colombo and some urban cities, the
people are used to drinking packeted chilled standardised liquid milk of
various local brands out of thirst.
To ease the shortage of fresh milk, the dairy industry needs 150,000
heads of cow with the current production level or 80,000 heads of high
yielding cows. This target would take another 10 to 15 years, if only
the industry is encouraged and flourishes.
In 1994, when the Peoples Alliance Government came to power one of
their election promises was to ease the malnutrition level which was at
over 50 per cent below children of five years of age, by providing milk
to all school going children. At that time 400 grams powder milk was
sold at Rs. 50.
Currently imported milk products take a fair slice of our budget,
which costs 12.5 billion rupees per annum. While there are various brand
of powder milk such as Nespray, Anchor, Raththi, Lakspray, Milgrow, and
Highland imported and available in the market, all such products
recommend three spoons each (A spoon contains 25 Grams) to make a glass
of 200 ml milk. With the increase of powder milk by 25 per cent, a glass
of reconstituted powder milk would cost at Rs. 30 to 41 according to
their price variation. This means a litre of reconstituted milk at Rs.
160 to 200 per litre. Whereas the price of a litre of milk produced by
our local farmer is only Rs. 30.
India - the largest milk producer in the world produces 90 million
tons of milk to make them self sufficient.
They have achieved self-sufficiency in milk from their ‘Operation
flood’ programme. The dairy technologies across the world are puzzled
and fascinated by the Indian dairy development industry. The basic
philosophy of the Anand pattern scientific and professional management
of a vertical integrated structure that establishes a direct linkage
between those who produce milk and those who consume it. Anand is a
symbol of hope for millions of small farmers spread across the length
and breath of India.
It is noteworthy to mention that between 1997 and 2000 ‘Operation
Flood’ master mind Dr. Kurian’s effort with technical assistance to
improve Sri Lankan dairy industry of Anand based NDDB project at a cost
of US 20 Million ended without any progress due to political reasons.
Presidential candidate Victor Hettigoda’s dream of providing a cow to
every family will never come true as far as the interest of the dairy
farmers are not looked after.
The Ministry of Livestock should draw a new strategy to see that the
dairy farmers are provided with good remunerations such as good quality
fodder, adequate land for fodder, modern animal husbandry technology,
better veterinary services, stringent slaughter act, research facilities
in the farms with progeny testing programmes are a priority. Last but
not least, good income to the farmers from the dairy industry would
increase the interest of the rural farmers.
People across the country should be taught to drink liquid milk
instead of using powdered milk, by which the want for liquid milk would
increase. School curriculum should include animal husbandry as an
important subject. If the above are not met with the dairy industry it
will die a slow death.
Dr. A. NANDAKUMAR –
I write as a foreigner, from Goa, India. I would like to pay tribute
to the memory of a great Sri Lankan citizen on the occasion of a month
of his passing away (July 4, 2007) - Fr. Glennville Sebastian Fernando,
67, known to all as Fr. Glen. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of
The services he rendered to leprosy patients in most of the areas in
the island are commendable in my experience and contact with him. He
worked full time as the executive of SUROL (Society for the Uplift and
Rehabilitation of Leprosy patients).
Based in Colombo, he had a wide reach, travelling regularly to remote
areas with care and concern for these patients, irrespective of their
creed and beliefs. Apart from taking along medicines, food items and
some monetary sustenance, his main concern was to see and inspect
personally the condition of their skin, legs, hands and face and direct
them and insist with the authorities that they get the medical care due
On the occasion of his first death anniversary which fell on July 4,
2008 I intend organising with the help of well-wishers and friends in
Colombo a morning or an evening of Fr. Glen Memorial lectures on
‘Freedom for Leprosy Patients’.
Further I intend floating a time bound Fr. Glen Memorial fund for the
education of children of Leprosy patients.
These children will be those that Fr. Glen was in touch with and
helped so much. Modalities and approvals are in the process.
Anyone interested in any one or both of the above please write in
your pledges to firstname.lastname@example.org no obligations to anyone. I do
this just as a friend and an admirer of Fr. Glen.
What mattered for Glen was what he has printed and pasted at eye
level on the wall where he sat everyday to answer telephone calls and
meet his patients in the reception area of SUROL.
“I prefer to look at leprosy patients as persons. If I had leprosy
today I wouldn’t be happy being a public health problem. I wouldn’t be
happy being yet another statistic. I am me! I am an individual with
individual needs and so are the rest of us. And Leprosy is about
individual men and women and children with personal pains and
- Eddie Askew
FR. XAVIER PINTO –
Rizana Nafeek, the Sri Lankan girl who was convicted of murdering her
employer’s baby child, has become a hot topic in the local media. I, as
a person who has got closely involved with Saudi business community and
a person closely involved with the Sri Lankan community activities in
Jeddah, feel it is appropriate to make a humble request from the
authorities based on my experience, for the benefit of this girl.
I had the opportunity of closely associating most of our diplomatic
staff in Saudi Arabia and many Saudi nationals at different capacities
on various issues during my career. In fact, I had the rare privilege of
representing the Saudi trade delegation appointed by Jeddah Chamber of
Commerce to meet the Sri Lankan Parliamentary delegation in 2002 which
was led by former Minister Joseph Michael Perera. President Mahinda
Rajapaksa (the Leader of the Opposition at that time) was also in the
Sri Lankan delegation. It is not ethical for me to ‘blow my own trumpet’
but done so to show my eligibility to comment on this subject.
There was a time in Saudi Arabia sometime in early eighties, where
the counter clerk in the post office throwing the letter at me, when I
could not understand his question ‘ordinary post?’ or ‘registered?’ in
Arabic language. Whilst accepting the fact that their attitudes too have
changed over the years, I too started adopting the art and style of
talking to them over the years. It takes some time until you get to know
their greeting styles, standard exchange of questions and answers on
health and that of other family members etc. so that they feel you are
‘one of them’. This ‘togetherness’ could not be expressed by a new comer
to their culture even if that person is a fluent Arabic speaker. In my
own experience, even my religion did not become a barrier to become
popular among those Saudi citizens.
I have personally observed that most of the Saudi nationals are very
kind, soft hearted and very friendly. But all such qualities are not
visible during the initial confrontations, particularly when you want to
ask for a favour. I was not surprised at all about the parents of the
Saudi boy not giving even an appointment to the visiting deputy
Minister. In my experience with Saudi nationals for over 20 years, they
do not have any special regard for politicians.
Meanwhile, I was shocked to hear about the other development of
calling back the Sri Lankan envoy in the middle of this problem. I am
not sure whether there had been a disciplinary or any other serious
misconduct on the part of the envoy concerned for the Ministry to take
this decision. If that is not the case, I believe that the announcement
of the withdrawal of the existing Ambassador may have had an adverse
effect on Rizana’s fate.
It is sad to note that the value of the diplomatic staff is
underestimated in such instances. It is a well known fact that the
so-called self appointed ‘community leaders’ among the Sri Lankan
expatriates in those countries do not like the ‘straight talk’ of some
of the committed officials. I have seen some instances where the names
of some of the ‘golden’ personalities were tarnished because they did
not ‘dance according to their tunes’. I have had a very brief
association with Masnavi Sadiq as soon as he assumed duties in Jeddah as
the Consul General, which gave me a sense of confidence as to his
I have no clue as to the political alignments of this career
diplomat, but of the opinion that the announcement of his withdrawal
will not make any good to Rizana. I am sure that Mr. Sadiq is well
qualified and capable of handling this case by dealing with the Saudi
authorities, with his experience gained during the last 3-4 years in
Therefore, I wish to draw the attention of the authorities, to use
the proper and official channel i.e. diplomatic staff, in dealing with
the case if they are genuine in their efforts to help the girl in
LAKSHMAN RUPASINGHE - Founder President -
Sri Lankan expatriates’ Society, Jeddah
I agree with B. A. Aryatilake’s letter (August 3) about Dr. Reffai’s
comments about astrology and horoscopes reading.
Astrology and horoscopes are an ancient form of science, which
although has yet to be proved by modern science, has not been disproved
by it either. The same can be said for Allah or God, and the rest of the
other-worldly experiences that have been preached throughout the ages.
This ancient form of science has its roots and branches in all
It looks onto the visible patterns and movements of stars and planets
and finds some correlation between them, and that of the living. While
one could not, and should not put too much faith into astrology and the
reading of horoscopes, the same can be said about putting too much faith
in a deity either - what one can’t achieve through prayer (valid
prayer), one in the end, has to resort to the acceptance of fate, and of
course most importantly on the use of the human intellect to guide.
There is a certain frailty in the human intellect which makes one go
beyond human intellect and reasoning to balance out oneself. Major
religions claim to supply all that is needed for the defects of the
human soul, but not without their deterrence of eternal damnation. What
a way to reach out to the eternal creator - righteousness mingled and
mangled with apprehensions of hell.
Astrology and horoscopes thus give a fresher and cleaner respite into
human faith. I wish all astrologers, horoscope readers, and soothsayers
the very best into their insights, and hope that they will use
appropriately, their innate ability to see what others cannot perceive.
RAMON T. FERNANDO -
Further to CCE (road signs, traffic offences and stupidity or
wisdom?) I was travelling on R. A. de Silva Mawatha (Duplication Road)
towards Vajira Road and made a right turn at the HSBC junction. Offence
was I made the right turn from the wrong lane.
According to Bambalapitiya Traffic Police authorities the road
supposed to be painted correctly.
They only impose the law. I told them that I do not see any road
painting to that effect. The officer told me that it is not his business
to paint the road.
This has to be done by the CMC. Drivers should know the basic laws.
Will any lawyer educate the public on this matter?
I think there is a problem with the Traffic section of the
DONALD GAMINITILLAKE -
As Sri Lankans living abroad always like to hear that some peace is
created in our Mother Lanka. The possibility for everyone to gather
around Madhu Shrine is so encouraging.
Those who are paving way for such an important task is commendable.
We are to make bridges than walls and all those who are involved in
this give and take would immesurably be blessed by Mother of Madhu on
August 15 at the feastive mass. Good Lord will bless all their