Blog: Katy AskewFonterra using farm know-how to grow in Sri Lanka

Katy Askew | 19 February 2016

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra hopes to use the know-how of its farmer owners in order to scale up in emerging dairy markets such as Sri Lanka.

The co-operative is opening a demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo, at the end of this month. Four volunteer Fonterra farmers will be spending a month on the farm to work with local farmers on areas including animal nutrition, prevention and treatment of mastitis and how to run a farm as a business.

The new farm and scheme are both part of the Fonterra's dairy development programme, which aims to support the growth of sustainable dairy industries in “key markets” where Fonterra operates, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China.

Initiatives like this are beneficial for local farmers and Fonterra alike. Significantly for the group, the work of its farmers will will help increase local milk collection and improve milk quality.

This initiatives builds on previous efforts from Fonterra to improve local milk production in various markets around the world. Last year, for instance, 12 Indonesian farmers travelled to New Zealand as part of the annual scholarship programme. Preliminary results show close to 90% of the farmers have improved milk quality and almost half are already producing higher volumes of milk as a result of new milk hygiene, animal care and farm management practices, Fonterra claimed.

Participant Adieb Iryanto said the programme prompted him to introduce a number of new farming practices. "I now keep records of my herd and financials making it easier to track the performance and health of individual cows as well as the overall profitability and operating costs of my farm. This has allowed me to look at my farming business and see where I can make changes to become more efficient and productive," he said.

Such initiatives are not likely to result in big-bang changes to local dairy markets. But they are an invaluable way to strengthen dairy production in emerging markets for dairy - a process that will benefit dairy farmers and processors alike.

Sectors: Dairy, Emerging markets

Companies: Fonterra

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