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Fonterra helps local milk farmers

Loans to increase milk supply base:

Fonterra Brands Lanka will increase their milk supply base to 6000 milk farmers within the next three years. Milk Procurement Manager for Fonterra, H. M. P. Herath said at the moment they have 3000 milk farmers in their supply base and expect to increase this amount to 6000 within three years time.

Roshan Kulasuriya

“All these 3000 farmers provide 25,000 liters of fresh milk for the company per day and we are planning to increase this to 50,000 liters within three years.

“The fresh milk collected from these farmers will be utilised for our Rs. 1.2 billion yoghurt plant which will commence operations next year” Herath said.

“Our dairy farmers are spread in three districts. Kurunegala, Colombo and Nuwaraeliya.

The company have provided loans worth Rs five million to the dairy farmers and will increase this amount up to Rs 50 million coordinating with the banks he said at the launch of Kiri Ithurum Mangallaya programme held in Galle in collaboration with Livestock Development Ministry.

“The milk processors don’t get enough milk for production. We are confident that within three years we can increase milk collection and the production. In Sri Lanka a cow provides three to six liters of milk per day.

This needs to be increased upto five liters to 10 liters and the company has also embarked on a project of cultivating sufficient grass for the dairy industry with these farmers to increases milk production. The company also provides technical know how and educates farmers through workshops to increase the standard of milk, he said.

Fonterra Brands Lanka finds investor confidence high and the company will invest further in the country, Human Resource Director, Fonterra Brands Lanka, Roshan Kulasuriya said.

“We invested Rs 1.2 billion this year in the yoghurt plant at an uncertain time. The expansion was done to cater to the demand we foresee for the products and also to drive the demand.

Once the growth plans kicks in we will evaluate the conditions and invest further. Uncertainty of inflation impacts the business. It hits the consumers but this is a global issue,” Kulasuriya said.

“In New Zealand the farming community has a culture.

The shareholders of the business are farmers. But here it is fragmented. Fonterra standards are high. We hope to build a replica of Fonterra in Sri Lanka as our farming culture is eroded,” he said.

“The farmers have grown with us. Their standards have improved. When you compare them with the global farming community they are not relatively far away. The production at present is not sufficient. Increasing the capacity will increase the farmers. We have collection centres in Wariyapola, Dickoya, Hanwella and Talawakelle . They will be expanded in the near future,” Kulasuriya said.

He added that the company holds over 50 per cent market share and import 50,000 to 60,000 tons of powdered milk per year. Company could not establish a milk powder plant in Sri Lanka due to the lack of a milk supply base in the country.

Talking about milk powder prices in the global market, he said prices are stabilised these days and prices depend on the weather conditions in milk producing countries.

The Kiri Ithurum Mangallaya programme was organised to create awareness among the public about the value of dairy products and promote consumption of milk among schoolchildren. This was the first in a series of regional competitions that will be held in six other provinces.

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