The dairy co-operative, which has been operating in Sri Lanka for more than 38 years, has invested more than $2.6m (Rs. 380m) in local dairy development over the past two years, and says it is committed to working with partners to increase milk collection, improve milk quality and increase farmer incomes.
Located in Pannala and costing $800K (Rs. 117m) to build and operate, the demonstration and training farm will be operational by the end of February. It will employ administrative managers, animal care specialists and farm hands. Each year the farm will train around 2,000 farmers, with 180 days dedicated to training.
The farm will include a milk shed, training center, free stall barns, milk chilling facilities, and fodder cultivation area.
New chilling centers
Managing director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, Leon Clement, said, “We are already seeing positive change in the Sri Lankan dairy industry with the government making a meaningful difference through imported cow genetics and working with farmers.
“We believe we can help accelerate this change through consistent investment in training and infrastructure to improve farming practices and animal health.”
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka says that by 2017 it will increase its current network of supplier relationship officers, who train and educate farmers on best practice, from 20 to 40. It will also build five new milk chilling centers.
On-farm training program
“These efforts will result in the opportunity for an additional 2,000 Sri Lankan dairy farmers to supply Fonterra, helping to grow the incomes of farmers across the country.
“We also hope to build an additional three demonstration and training farms by 2017, however to do this we will need to find the right partners and available land,” said Clement.
Fonterra’s on-farm program is made up of a number of areas of focus including fodder, advanced animal nutrition, animal welfare, milk quality management and farm business management.