Fonterra’s first Sri Lankan demonstration and training farm was officially opened recently by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister and Kurunegala District MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera and Fonterra Chairman John Wilson. The opening was also attended by 300 people from the local community.
Fonterra, a farmer-owned co-operative and the company behind Anchor, is committed to developing the local dairy industry in Sri Lanka. The opening of the Rs.117 million farm is a significant milestone in this journey and the first major private sector-funded training facility for dairy farming in Sri Lanka. The demonstration and training farm will train around 2,500 farmers each year and will employ administrative managers, animal care specialists and farm hands.
Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said Fonterra and Anchor have a long history in Sri Lanka, adding that the co-operative is committed to supporting the development of the country’s dairy industry. “We believe in collaboration and sharing expertise– this is central to our co-operative structure and how we’ve made Fonterra what it is today.
“New Zealand farmers recognised early on that we’re stronger when we work together, share ideas, resources and try new things. This approach of farmers supporting farmers is what we want to bring to Sri Lanka,” he said.
The demonstration and training farm will share the co-operative’s world-class dairy farming knowledge through farmer visits, field days, short course training and apprenticeship programmes.
“Training and education is essential in creating a stronger dairy industry in Sri Lanka and with Fonterra’s long history of dairy farming expertise, it’s where we can make a real difference,” said Wilson.
The farm will focus on helping Sri Lankan farmers improve milk quality and run their farming businesses more efficiently and profitably.
To support this, four New Zealand-based Fonterra farmers will travel to Sri Lanka between May and July 2016, with each one spending a month at the farm to provide hands-on training and advice.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Managing Director Sunil Sethi said, “We recognise that different countries and climates require tailored approaches to deliver the best results for the local dairy industry.
“With our generations of dairy expertise, we believe we’re well placed to help Sri Lankan farmers develop the best, most efficient system for the local climate and environment.
If we are able to get the right level of support from government, industry bodies and community organisations we will be able to continue to invest in additional training farms like this one, increasing our on-the-ground training expertise and invest in other infrastructure such as milk chilling centres,” said Sethi.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka’s demonstration and training farm in Pannala will include a milk shed, training centre, barns, milk chilling facilities and feed growth areas.
Please also have a look at the short clip of the opening of the dairy training farm, both in Sinhalese and English.