The Pathfinder Foundation, in partnership with the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo, organized a high-level Agriculture Reform Panel Discussion titled Prospects for Sri Lanka’s Dairy Industry: International Case Studies at Courtyard by Marriott in Colombo.
Chairman Pathfinder Foundation, Bernard Goonetilleke, mentioned that this forum takes place at a critical juncture where decisions are being taken to implement several policy reforms in Sri Lanka, including in the agricultural sector.
“As an allied sub-sector of agriculture, the dairy industry in Sri Lanka is an important sector of the country’s economy, playing a significant role in providing livelihoods contributing to rural development and ensuring food security”, he said.
New Zealand’s Minister for Agriculture. O’Connor’s statement highlighted that, as agriculture-producing countries, there is a lot that New Zealand and Sri Lanka can learn from each other. He further emphasized that in their experience, the key lies with working together at all levels – local, country, regional and global.
Counsellor (Primary Industries), New Zealand High Commission, New Delhi, Mel Phillips, highlighted that dairy production has a massive impact on human nutrition due to its renowned health benefits.
“In a country facing both animal and human nutrition deficiency, this could be a real opportunity to uplift the dairy sector and, with it, to encourage the lives and the health of Sri Lankans. She further reiterated that there are important decisions yet to be taken in this regard by the Sri Lankan Government and hoped that this had been a useful forum to push that agenda forward.”
Executive Director of the Pathfinder Foundation, Dr. Dayaratna Silva, stated, “There is no one size fits all. India uses one model, which may differ from the New Zeeland model. Sri Lanka can adopt its model, drawing lessons and success stories from these countries.”
The half-day panel discussion included high-level experts from India and Several senior officials representing New Zealand Dairy Industry, who shared scientific evidence, policy analysis, and international best practices in dairy development with the Sri Lankan counterparts that included 60 participants from Presidential Secretariat, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Department of Animal Production and Health, and the National Livestock Development Board, All Island Dairy Association, Fonterra Brands Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank.