USAID reconstructs milk chilling facility in Vellave'li, Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 May 2008, 10:52 GMT]
A high-ranking official from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inaugurated on Tuesday a milk chilling center in Vellave'li, Batticaloa, on the site where the original structure was completely destroyed in 1990, according to a press statement issued by the Embassy of the United States of America in Colombo. Through a grant to international NGO World Concern and in partnership with Milco Private Ltd., the USAID constructed 40 cattle sheds and five milk collection points, provided 300 milk cans and trained 160 farmers in feeding technologies, animal health and business planning. In all, nearly 2,000 households in the area have benefited.

Full text of the press release issued by the U.S. Embassy follows:

USAID Gives Dairy Farmers in Batticaloa New Livelihood Opportunities

Colombo; May 20, 2008 – A high-ranking official from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inaugurated on Tuesday a milk chilling center in Vellaveli, Batticaloa, on the site where the original structure was completely destroyed in 1990.

As part of the project, through a grant to international NGO World Concern and in partnership with Milco Private Ltd., USAID constructed 40 cattle sheds and five milk collection points, provided 300 milk cans and trained 160 farmers in feeding technologies, animal health and business planning. In all, nearly 2,000 households in the area have benefited.

“USAID hopes that by supporting the livelihoods of these farmer families it can help build confidence and restore normalcy to this formerly conflict-affected area,” Michael E. Hess, Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance in Washington, said at the opening.

Joining Hess at the opening ceremony were Mr. Udayakumar Uthayasridar, Velaveli Divisional Secretary; Mr. H.M.K.B. Hellarewa, Chairman of Milko; Mr. Rhumi Jauffer, Working Director for Milco; and Mr. Mallathamdhi Thushyanthan, Regional Program Manager for World Concern.

The dairy sector holds great promise for improving the livelihoods of thousands of Sri Lanka farmers throughout the island, especially in conflict-affected areas such as the districts of Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee, Hess said. USAID, the U.S. government agency in charge of delivering development assistance from the American people, will continue to work with farmers in the East, with the private sector and with the Sri Lankan government to establish conditions that will fuel growth in this key sector for years to come.

“What we’ve done here in Vellaveli with World Concern and Milco is a good start,” Hess said. “But for sustainable results, the dairy sector in Eastern Sri Lanka needs more private investment. That will increase milk production even further – and prices for farmers as well.” According to World Concern statistics, total milk production in the Vellaveli catchment area during April 2008 – after training had completed, and when the chilling center unofficially reopened for business – was at least 50 percent higher than during the months of April in each of the previous four years.


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