* Govt. signs agreements for Rs. 1.4 b project to develop three NLDB farms
The Government yesterday signed agreements that will usher Australian cows to boost Sri Lanka’s dairy industry via the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB).
The initiative will be carried out in two stages with the financial support from the Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank (Rabobank) of Netherlands and the Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) of Australia.
They have agreed to provide a loan in a sum of $ 10.52 million for implementation of Phase 1 of the project. The total cost of Phase 1 of the project is $ 12.9 million of which 81% of the project cost will be covered from the Rabobank and EFIC financing. The balance 19% of the project cost amounting to US$ 2.4 million will be provided by the Rabobank of Netherlands.
Directly aimed at increasing milk production under the project 4,500 dairy animals from Australia will be imported and deployed to develop farms belonging to National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) at Bopaththalawa, Nikaweratiya and Siringapatha.
Under Phase 1 of the project, 2,000 dairy animals will be imported and the Bopaththalawa farm will be developed at a total cost of US$ 12,944,058. The implementation of Phase 1 of the project will be carried out in 2 stages. Under Stage 1, it is expected to develop necessary infrastructure facilities at the Bopaththalawa farm and implement a pilot project for 9 months with importation of 500 dairy animals to the Bopaththalawa farm.
Under Stage 2, it is expected to import the balance 1500 dairy animals to the Bopaththalawa farm after completion of the pilot projects based on the performance of the dairy animals imported under Stage 1. Under Phase 2 of the project, the balance 2,500 dairy animals will be imported and the Nikaweratiya and Siringapatha farms will be developed based on the performance of Phase 1 of the project.
Finance Ministry said the Mahinda Chintana Policy document has highlighted that the dairy industry will be promoted by introducing improved breeds, feed resources, better animal health, a well developed collection and processing network, good research and extension services with the aim of reducing the drain on the country’s foreign exchange resources and supporting employment generation and family income. It was in this context that the project via NLDB is being undertaken.
The Loan Agreements for the financing were signed yesterday by Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Planning on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, John William Pacey, Chief Credit Officer, EFIC on behalf of EFIC and Han Bartelds, Vice President, Structured Trade and Export Finance, Rabobank on behalf of Rabobank, Netherlands. Kathy Klugman, the High Commissioner of Australia in Sri Lanka also participated in the signing ceremony.