Monday, November 28, 2022

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Govt to lease over 6000 acres of NLDB farm land to private firms

In a strategic move of improving the dairy and animal husbandry industry, the Government is now offering state owned land and farms to private sector firms, local or foreign investors on a long term basis.

Under this initiative a tender has been called from prospective investors to hand over six large farms with lands in the extent of 6268 acres owned by National Livestock Development Board (NLDB).

The aim is to tap the emerging modern agricultural technology and develop the animal husbandry industry to meet the local demand and exports as well, a top official of the Agriculture Ministry disclosed.

He noted that the government will be providing opportunities and offering farms and land to the private sector to act as a facilitator and help Sri Lanka farmers reap the benefits of the huge potential that lie in the island.

Investors are free to cultivate the land with any crop while developing the dairy and animal husbandry industry and sell it to the domestic market and also export, he added.

“It is a win-win situation for the farmers’ and investors,” he said adding that this initiative will help the government’ target of achieving self sufficiency in milk production at least by 2024.

The ministry will offer more land parcels belonging to the NLDB and other State-owned entities countrywide for the setting up of large scale dairy farms considering the success of this animal husbandry and milk production venture.

Under the proposal submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture, six land land slots with farms belonging to the NLDB would be allocated for this purpose.

Accordingly, Nuwara Eliya Bopath Talawa Farm in the extent of 1,133 acres, Puttalama Kottukachchiya Farm consisting 500 acres, Kurunegala Nikaveratiya Farm 1,054 acres, Anuradhapura Oyamaduwa Farm 1,477 acres, Anuradhapura Parasangaswewa Farm 1,632 acres and Hambantota Weerawila Farm consisting 472 acres are to be leased to private firms and investors selected in a proper tender procedure .

Many of these farms are making profits, NLDB top official said, pointing out that it is intended to develop Sri Lanka’s animal husbandry, the liquid milk industry, and develop large-scale farms for the cultivation of breeding animals, production of milk, meat and crops using modern technology under this project.

Although the country’s requirement of milk is estimated at 722 million liters per annum, the current local supply remains at around 422 litres, catering to only 40 percent of the demand.

Therefore, top ministry official pointed out that Sri Lanka spends US$ 365 million on dairy imports per annum, mostly for the powdered milk products.

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