A joint research project to help dairy farmers has been launched by Sri Lanka’s University of Peradeniya’s Faculty of Agriculture, Fonterra Brands and the Coconut Research Institute (CRI).

“The Sri Lankan dairy industry consists mostly of small-scale farmers who face many economic hardships, and the ultimate goal of this research is to make these farmers more economically sound by increasing milk production,” said the university’s vice-chancellor Professor Upul Dissanayake.

The project, which will be carried out at the Makandura Research Station, aims to address the issues of scarcity of feed that many farmers face due to the limited availability of land. It will also help guide dairy farmers on the best way to manage fodder crops to achieve optimum yields.

The research will investigate different types of fodder that can grow in varying conditions, such as underneath coconut trees.

“In order to achieve this, we need to provide them with scientific knowledge on improving the quality and supply of fodder, which has a direct impact on higher milk yield. Public-private partnerships of this nature are extremely important in facilitating such research projects, and I look forward to many more collaborations in the future,” said Professor Dissanayake.
Suni Sethi, managing director for Fonterra’s business in Sri Lanka, which is funding the project, said: “This significant partnership enables us to combine our generations of New Zealand dairy farming expertise, with the deep local knowledge and abilities of experts at the University of Peradeniya and the Coconut Research Institute. By identifying gaps in the quality and supply of fodder in this country, we can develop the best solutions to suit Sri Lanka’s unique conditions which will help to grow milk production and improve animal health.”