SRI LANKA - Helping local farmers overcome challenges through training will lead to a thriving dairy industry by addressing nutritional gaps and providing income opportunities, industry experts said recently.
Even though demand for dairy is growing, Sri Lankans consume only a quarter of the recommended daily intake of dairy products. The industry meets just 30 per cent of the demand in Sri Lanka, with 80 percent of this supply coming from small-scale dairy farmers.
A panel of public and private sector leaders came together in Colombo recently, agreeing that through education, innovation and collaboration the local dairy industry can become a greater contributor to the health and well-being of the nation.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harsha De Silva, said the local dairy industry has potential to drive the economy.
“Developing the local dairy industry can play a role in closing the local supply and demand gap, and uplift the livelihoods of small to medium farming entrepreneurs,” he said.
“I’ve seen from my recent visit to New Zealand, agriculture and in particular dairy has the potential to be a strong pillar of our economy.”
Recent data shows that people around the world are increasingly focused on healthier lifestyles, resulting in a rise in demand for healthy options such as dairy.
“While research shows that dairy features in the diets of most Sri Lankan households and year-on-year consumption continues to grow by 13 per cent, individual consumption still remains low,” Sharang Pant, managing director of Nielsen Sri Lanka said.
“Sri Lankans only consume half a glass of milk or its dairy equivalent each day. This is well below the recommended intake of up to two glasses of milk specified by the Ministry of Health.”
In addition, Sri Lanka faces micro-nutrient deficiencies in Iron, Vitamin A and D, and Folic Acid – all potential areas where dairy can help, he added.
The discussion, “Dairy: Flourishing farmers to nourishing Sri Lankans,” covered key topics such as the main trends that are driving the consumption of dairy, current barriers to meeting the local industry’s potential and how the government, industry and private sector can work together to overcome these barriers.
Source: Lanka Business Online
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