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Sunday, 15 May 2011

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Mahaweli to reorganise dairy farms



Director General Mahaweli Authority, D.M.C. Dissanayake.

The Mahaweli Authority is now focusing its attention on helping the country towards being self sufficient in fresh milk production in less than four years.

The Authority which has the largest land base in the country accounting to 38 percent is now actively looking at involving itself in dairy farming in a more organised manner.

Director General of the Mahaweli Authority, D. M. C. Dissanayake said that they are looking at increasing milk production of the cows that are already with the farmers.

He said that together with Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva the Authority will introduce a scheme to provide more nutritional food to the cows and teach farmers how they could reap better benefits from the animals.

He said the Authority owns several farms. They are also looking at selecting stud bulls in a bid to increase the cattle population.


An exhibitor at the Mahaweli Exhibition at Vihara Maha Devi Park

He said that the Authority was an infamous government institution that was a financial burden on the government coffers for many years.

"However, today we are slowly but surely turning around and would be a profit making institution soon."

He said that one of the main reasons for the Mahaweli Authority to be in the red was not tapping the resources within the institution, over staffing and lack of direction.

"Today these problems are being addressed and in addition to concentrating on dairy, agriculture too is being persued."

"We are opening more outlets in the country so that the farmers' produce could be sold in the city fetching a better price for them. As these are sold without the mediation of a middleman customers too would get a better price."

In a bid to assist the government's Divi Neguma program the Authority is also intensifying its agricultural sector. "We have identified land to grow 10,000 acres of coconut," he said.

Dissanayake said that they also held a Mahaweli produce exhibition in Colombo which was very successful. "For the first time Mahaweli farmers were able to see the opportunities available to them in Colombo and this was a major incentive to them."

He said that fish breeding too is an important area and this is a high income generator to youth who also got an opportunity to showcase their products in Colombo.

He said that tourism too is on their cards and that they have decided to allocate over 100 acres of beach frontage in Nayaru to the private sector for tourism.

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