Pelwatte Dairy Industries – the national leader in dairy and dairy products – stands in support of Sri Lankan farmers with regards to the ongoing Maha Oya land issue that has reportedly put the Dairy farming community at stake. The company looks forward to having a sustainable strategy in place with the partnership and commitment of all stakeholders involved, thereby nurturing families, safeguarding cattle, and building the economy.
Pelwatte Dairy Industries, as a company of immense social and economic value, has been offering its unwavering support towards dairy farmers and their families, the Sri Lankan economy, and the country as a whole. Dairy farmers have expressed their concerns regarding the restrictions imposed by the Department of Wildlife, Department of Forest Conservation and Mahaweli Authority that have reportedly brought the sector in this area to a standstill. In this regard, Pelwatte Dairy seeks the support of the government and related authorities.
Sri Lankan Dairy farmers engage in domestic and free-gazing based cattle rearing. Household farmers usually rear between a few cattle in their homes with make-shift sheds and provide pasture, while the farmers who engage in free gazing have tens to hundreds of cattle each – depending on their scales of production – and require larger land or pastures to graze.
Although the government has facilitated the dairy farmers to use lands which are under the Mahaweli Authority for livestock rearing, there’s a tendency among farmers to quit cattle farming as these promises aren’t assured. Especially when cattle enter the territories of the Wildlife Department; farmers have been confronted by the authorities of the Department of Forests and supposedly faced regulatory issues and when confronted by Wildlife Authorities, they have been subjected to strict law enforcements on various instances. This has caused great distress and turmoil. This has been a common issue in the areas of Rambakenoya, Pollebedda, Kandegama and Maduru Oya .
According to dairy farmers, “Over 2000 of our cattle have been stranded in lands that have been promised but not passed on to us. We have not been allowed to visit for over a month and this poses a serious problem as the cattle need to be milked regularly to prevent fertility issues, disease, and any loss to productivity. Veterinarians have backed our claim and we would really like access to our cattle”.
The Budget tabled this year covers several sectors under a macroeconomic vision and is expected to pose several opportunities for the local industry. These special investment schemes are proposed to help navigate the competitive setting of the local and global economy. Moreover, the fiscal and monetary policies are expected to stabilise the sector and support the farmers involved.
Dairy Farming has been the source of income for over 500 families in Maha Oya and adjacent areas. The numbers are higher when considering the value additional and supportive services that the sector sustains. The dairy farming sector’s contribution towards consumers and the economy at large has been quite notable, and yet, several political, technical, environmental and socio-economic factors have stunted growth for many families during these trying times. To this effect, Laksiri Amaratunga, General Manager Pelwatte Dairy Industries states, “Pelwatte Dairy has always supported the wellbeing of the country, staying true to its vision of nourishing the nation with dairy products of the highest quality. This has only been possible due to the efforts and cooperation of our dairy farmers, and we pledge our support towards them.” He added: “We hope to enter strategic partnerships with the authorities for the same.”