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Asia Pacific: Fonterra sends NZ farmers to Sri Lanka to train local farmers

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Four Fonterra farmers will travel to Sri Lanka this year as part of a new farmer volunteer scheme to work with Sri Lankan dairy farmers.

They will spend a month at Fonterra’s new demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo.

While in Sri Lanka they will work with local farmers and Fonterra supplier relationship officers on areas including animal nutrition, prevention and treatment of mastitis and how to run a farm as a business.

The new farm and scheme are both part of the Co-operative’s Dairy Development program.

It supports the growth of sustainable dairy industries in key markets where Fonterra operates, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China, by sharing its expertise and working together with local farmers, governments and industry players.

The new farm, due to be opened at the end of this month, will help Fonterra and its partners to increase local milk collection, improve milk quality and lift farmer incomes.

MD of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Sunil Sethi said the Co-operative has been operating in Sri Lanka for 38 years and is committed to creating stronger farmer families by sharing its knowledge and expertise.

Besides Sri Lankan farmers, 12 Indonesian farmers travelled to New Zealand last year as part of the annual scholarship program that helps develop local dairy farming capability through hands-on training.

Preliminary results show close to 90% of the farmers have improved milk quality and almost half are already producing higher volumes of milk as a result of new milk hygiene, animal care and farm management practices.

Scholarship participant Adieb Iryanto said he had introduced a number of new farming practices as a result of the scholarship program.

“I now keep records of my herd and financials making it easier to track the performance and health of individual cows as well as the overall profitability and operating costs of my farm.”

“This has allowed me to look at my farming business and see where I can make changes to become more efficient and productive,” he said.