Colombo, January 5 (newsin.asia:) Pakistan is to establish a modern dairy farm in Polonnaruwa district in North Central Sri Lanka which is the home district of the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat, told President Sirisena when he called on him on Thursday that a high level experts team will be visiting Polonnoruwa district to carry out a feasibility study.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Pakistan is among three countries in the Asia and Pacific region which are the world’s top dairy producers.
The Pakistan Economic Survey for 2016-17 reveals that milk production in Pakistan was on the increase and during 2017 the gross production of milk was estimated to be 56,080,000 tonnes.
In December 2016, the Royal Friesland Company acquired 51 per cent of Engro Foods Pakistan, which was one of the largest private sector foreign direct investments in Pakistan’s dairy sector, amounting to US $450 million. Under the new deal and 2020 strategy arrangements, Engro Foods will aim for higher milk quality, variety of milk packages and products and farmers’ capacity building leading to a reduction in poverty.
In addition, regulatory duties to the tune of 25% have been imposed on the import of skimmed milk powder and whey powder. This is to attract further investments in the dairy sector along with protecting small dairy farmers.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka spends around US$ 400 million a year on the import of milk powder. Technological advancements would increase milk supply and reduce imports markedly. Therefore, policy interventions may be needed for pasture development, import of higher milk producing breeds or crossbreeding and other technological advancements, experts say.
During the meeting with the Lankan President, the Pakistan Commissioner apprised him about the various ongoing development projects in Sri Lanka initiated by the Government of Pakistan through its High Commission including a US$200 million credit line.
Urgent Fertilizer Supply
President Sirisena expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Government of Pakistan, for the timely provision of fertilizer to Sri Lanka to curb the shortage, as had been requested by him.
In the wake of a sudden shortage of fertilizer in Sri Lanka, President Sirisena last week announced that Pakistan had agreed to send 41,000 metric tons of fertilizer immediately. The President had contacted Pakistani Prime Minister Abbasi, following concerns raised about the scarcity of fertilizer in the country and had requested assistance to find an immediate solution to the crisis.
The Government of Pakistan informed him that it would take steps to export more than 75,000 metric tons of fertilizer to Sri Lanka in the future.
Traditionally, Pakistan’s fertilizer production capacity has been over 6 million tons per year, a little over the national demand.