Sri Lanka food firm and IFC to push dairy farmers up the value chain

July 14, 2008 (LBO) – The foods division of Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings (JKH) has tied up with dairy farmer co-operatives to set up facilities to add value to raw milk, in a move which is backed by the World Bank’s private sector arm, the company said.

Gilles Galludec, IFC Country Manager for Maldives and Sri Lanka, says it is looking to scale up the model and replicate it in more farmer communities.

Jit Gunaratne, who heads the consumer foods at John Keells said through training and technical assistant farmer co-operatives would be able to produce high quality dairy products and earn higher income by moving up the value chain. Ceylon Cold Stores, widely known as Elephant House, a unit of JKH said it was giving technical help to dairy farmer co-operatives to produce flavored milk ice coffee and yoghurt.

The first pilot production facility would be placed in Sagaruwanketha, a village in the Central provincial area of Rikillagaskada.

The dairy farmer cooperative society has a membership of 4,000 and the society run factory employs about 25 young people from the farmer families.

The International Finance Corporation, a part of the World Bank group, will carry out a diagnostic study of the co-operative society, production facilitie