Colombo, Dec 5 (PTI) India will provide technical support to Sri Lanka to improve its dairy industry and milk production, a move aimed at reducing the cash-strapped country’s dependence on imported dairy products, it said the office of the President of Sri Lanka on Monday.
Officials of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets milk under the Amul brand, have taken steps to provide the necessary technical support for milk production in Sri Lanka, the division of the president’s media. he said in a statement.
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A preliminary discussion on the matter was held at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday, he said.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has also appointed a group of representatives from the public and private sectors to work with the NDDB multidisciplinary team to prepare a short, medium and long term plan to increase local production of milk to reduce the country’s milk production. dependence on imported milk powder, he said.
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During Monday’s meeting, plans were discussed to double local milk production by implementing short- and medium-term plans and make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in milk in the long term through a specific program, he said.
The additional secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nimal Samaranayake, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board, Professor HW Cyril and other committee members and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and line agencies, Senior Director General, National Dairy Development Board of India , Rajesh Onkarnath Gupta, Managing Director Sunil Shivprasad Sinha, Senior Director Rajesh Kumar Sharma and other representatives participated in the discussions, he said.
The Sri Lankan government’s move is also aimed at providing food security at a time when the country has reported an increase in cases of child malnutrition.
Earlier this month, Dr Chitramali de Silva, director of the health ministry’s family health office, said severe acute malnutrition among children had risen to 1.4% this year, from 1.1%.
The health ministry’s comments came days after the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) said at least 56,000 children in Sri Lanka are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
According to the latest figures released by WFP, 32% of households are now food insecure and 68% of households are turning to food-based coping strategies, such as eating less of favorite foods or cutting back on the number of meals and portion sizes.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, was plunged into financial and political turmoil earlier this year as it faced a shortage of foreign currency.
Because of this, the country has been unable to afford key imports such as fuel, fertilizers and medicines, leading to snaking queues.
The crisis led to shortages of basic products, as the island was unable to finance imports due to a shortage of foreign currency.
Street protests against the government over its mishandling of the economy led to the impeachment of then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in mid-July.
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