Heifer imports: An attempt for another fraud

Heifer imports: An attempt for another fraud

Written by Staff Writer

07 Jul, 2019 | 9:52 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): A group of representatives of the Finance for Australian Exporters, an Australian government agency have arrived in the country. They have arrived for the purpose of inspecting and assessing the farms that have been established under the 1st phase of the project carried out by the Ministry of Rural Economic Development, to import dairy heifers into the country.

This particular project that commenced in the year 2017, under a loan of US$ 73 million obtained from a Dutch commercial bank, was at the centre of controversy.

As per an agreement between the said ministry and an Australian company, 20 000 pregnant cows should be imported into the country by next year. 5000 dairy heifers were brought on two occasions under the first phase of the project and were handed over to 67 dairy farmers. Out of the 67 farms that were established in this manner, only one dairy farm is receiving adequate harvests to make an earning that is break even. This matter was revealed at the Presidential Commission of inquiry as well.

According to veterinarians who are currently attached to the Department of Animal Production & Health, as well as several veterinarians who were previously attached, the remaining heifers out of the 5000 that were brought down, and the remaining calves of these heifers, are a threat to the cattle population of our country. Against such a backdrop, the representatives of the Australian government agency are only planning to inspect 15 out the 67 farms. The document released by the ministry further proves this point.

The dairy farmers are now helpless after coming forward and investing a substantial amount of money for this project. Is the government attempting to continue to import the remaining 15 000 heifers after carrying out these so-called “inspections”?

Secretary to the President, this is over to you.

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