‘Govt should encourage local farmers to develop dairy industry’ | Daily News

‘Govt should encourage local farmers to develop dairy industry’

Leading milk powder importer and TradLanka Agricultural Enterprises Chairman Ariyasiri Withanage said the Government should encourage local farmers to develop the country’s dairy industry so that the country need not wait until the milk powder stocks come to Sri Lanka from New Zealand or Australia.

He said currently there is a milk powder shortage in the country and it is the sole responsibility of the Government to conduct a survey on each cattle farmer society and also the number of cattle they have. He said to develop the dairy industry cattle farmers should be provided with necessary cattle food, animal medicine and other facilities and farmers expected a relief from the Budget.

Meanwhile, the All Ceylon Farmer Association (ACFA) National Organizer, Samanpriya Rodrigo said responsible officials should visit cattle farms and take immediate measures to fulfill the requirements of farmers if so there is no need to import milk powder or cattle from foreign countries by spending millions of dollars.

He said unfortunately yesterday’s Budget had not mentioned about the state of the local dairy industry and said necessary facilities should be granted to small and medium scale cattle farmers countrywide so that they could produce our annual milk powder requirement. He said in addition the Budget should have encouraged younger generations,especially unemployed youth to get involved in the industry. He further said over 400,000 small scale milking cow farmers are currently engaged in the industry at Hambantota, Ampara, Galle and Monaragala districts.

Meanwhile, All Ceylon Milk Powder Federation (ACMPF), National organizer Cyril Samaranyaka said Sri Lanka’s annual fresh milk consumption exceeds over 7,000 metric tons and if cattle farmers are provided with cattle food at considerable prices only through co-operatives it will be a relief to farmers who are engaged in cattle farming.

Central Fish Market (CFM) Chairman Jayasiri Wickramarachchi said the Budget had not mentioned anything about the diesel and kerosene oil price subsidy requested by them and said even at this

moment some fishermen in fishing harbors countrywide had kept away from fishing especially at night due to non- issuing of required fuel quantities. He said if the Government does not take any action to give the fuel subsidy to fishermen a kilo of big fish will be increased between Rs. 3, 000 and Rs.3,300 and a kilo and even small fish will be increased. He said keep away from fishing will not only affect to consumers but also to star class and small scale hoteliers as well as seafood exporters who annually bring colossal foreign exchange .The CFM further says if authorities do not make a positive response to the request even the already reduced fish prices in the market will be increased in the coming weeks. The All Island Fireworks Association (AIFA) also expressed their views on the Budget.

According to AIFA President Dinesh Fernando the firecracker manufacturing industry at Kimbulapitiya has come to a standstill to a certain extent and people manufacture only limited crackers during this festive season owing to the shortage of imported chemicals.He said unfortunately the Budget has not mentioned anything about the reliefs given to countrywide firecracker manufacturers.

He said although several requests were made by manufacturers from authorities they had not taken measures to import required chemicals and the available chemicals are also very expensive.

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