Representatives from the Embassy of the United States of America and senior Sri Lankan officials presided at the February 18 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between dairy farmers, CIC Dairies, and Milk Industries of Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. The MoU will help dairy farmers in Polonnaruwa to increase their milk sales. The Honorable Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P Harrison joined USAID Acting Mission Director Reed Aeschliman at the ceremony, where farmers also received equipment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help increase milk production.
“This is one more example of how U.S.-Sri Lankan partnerships improve the lives of people in this country,” said U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap. “By establishing a reliable source for milk in Polonnaruwa and providing outlets for its sale, both these farmers and dairy companies benefit.”
USAID will help train the farmers in the latest dairy management practices and create village-based chilling systems to collect milk twice daily from those who meet quality standards. The MoU ensures CIC Dairies and Milk Industries of Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. will purchase the increased production of milk from the dairy farmers for at least two years.
“We thank USAID for its commitment to improve the dairy industry in Sri Lanka,” said Minister Harrison. “We really admire the work it has done in this region and in the North.”
USAID is helping farmers throughout the North, East, and North Central Provinces to improve farming practices, ensure food security, and increase incomes of 3,000 families under the Supporting Opportunities in Livelihoods Development (SOLID) project. The initiative collaborates with the Government of Sri Lanka, local governments, and the private sector. Special care is taken to prioritize assistance to female-headed households, war widows, and resettled families.
U.S. representatives also visited several other USAID projects to promote recovery and resettlement of formerly displaced people. Mr. Aeschliman met with grape and mushroom farmers in the North Central Province, and distributed equipment to passion fruit farmers and agricultural water pumps for returnees in the Northern Province.