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Maha Mega Uyana: Setting new standards for Dry Zone Dairy Industry Development

Maha Mega Uyana: Setting new standards for Dry Zone Dairy Industry Development

March 7, 2010  12:59 pm

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The Maha Mega Uyana Livestock Development Farm, a major component of the dry zone dairy industry development project conceived by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) and funded by Exetel Private Limited of Sydney, Australia had an official foundation laying ceremony recently at Moragaha Ulpotha in Wilgamuwa.

 

The Chief Guest was Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils. The main objective of the Exetel supported SLWCS dairy development effort is to develop a project that would contribute to resolving human elephant conflict by developing dry zone dairy to benefit both elephants and people.

 

Cattle and elephants do not have conflicts and will share resources in harmony, thus the goal is to develop appropriate management systems and sustainable technologies such as improved breeding, better husbandry, and rangeland and pasture management so that both cattle and elephants can continue to share resources.

 

The SLWCS hopes to achieve these goals and objectives by establishing a model dairy project that consists of a nucleus breeding, dry zone pasture management and sustainable technology development programs. The Society will work in partnership and consultation with the Farm Animal Production & Health Department and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science of the University of Peradeniya, National Livestock Development Board, Department of Animal Health and Production, the Engineering and Electronic Communications Laboratory of the University of Moratuwa and other various local and national government institutions.  Details can be found at www.slwcs.org/exetel/

 

The foundation stone laying ceremony was well attended by all the national, provincial, and local government administrative officials of Wilgamuwa including the veterinary surgeon of the Department of Animal Health and Production regional office in Dambulla.

 

The Minister and the other dignitaries after the laying of the foundation stone participated in planting CO3 grass to initiate the project’s pasture development program. The welcome address was given by the SLWCS Farm’s Project Manager, Samantha Mirandu who outlined the aims and goals of the dairy project. Ravi Corea, the President of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society in his speech gave an overview of the drawbacks and obstacles that hampered the development of the dry zone dairy industry in Sri Lanka.  He stressed that these challenges had to be overcome and that was one of the main objectives of the SLWCS dairy project.

 

Mr. Corea also mentioned that one of the main reasons to develop a successful smallholder dairy model was the immediate necessity to provide farmers in intense human elephant conflict areas with a livelihood that was compatible to living with elephants. He thanked Exetel Private Limited for supporting the project through their highly visionary corporate social responsibility program which is an example that should be emulated by other private sector companies if they were committed to sustainable development. He also thanked the Honorable Minister and other dignitaries for attending the ceremony and thanked all the SLWCS staff for their cooperation and support to organize the event.

 

The Minister commended the SLWCS for the pioneering work the Society has done to alleviate the socioeconomic standards of marginalized communities whose livelihoods were threatened by escalating human elephant conflicts by providing them strategies to minimize their losses. He stressed the fact that SLWCS was an organization that did excellent work, had a very good record and reputation and was deeply committed to contributing to the sustainable development efforts of the national government.  He called upon all those who were present especially the government administrative officers and the villagers of Moragaha Ulpotha to give their help and support to the efforts of the SLWCS to establish the farm which will herald a new era of socioeconomic development and environmental conservation and management in the Wilgamuwa region.

 

The government veterinary surgeon of Dambulla, Dr. H.M.R.U.B. Herath spoke about the subsidy programs the government was offering as incentives for farmers to adapt livestock farming and how the SLWCS project would further enable them to become successful dairy farmers.

 

Photo caption: Ravi Corea, the President of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (right) showing the blue prints of the Maha Mega Uyana Livestock Development Farm to Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils.

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