Written by Staff Writer
04 Jun, 2020 | 9:12 am
COLOMBO (News 1st):
“All my property has been auctioned after being taken over by the bank. I own nothing now. I have fallen to a situation where I now live on their land by force.”
This was the plight of those who purchased heifers imported by the Government in 2017.
The importation of heifers has come to the fore once again following a decision by the Government to import 2500 heifers from Australia.
Following a Cabinet paper presented last week, the Government has sanctioned the importation of more heifers.
The programme this year will not see the heifers be distributed directly among the farmers, but will instead see the cows bred in a suitable area.
“We have problems with regard to why they are importing 2500 heifers to make them reproduce. I don’t think we need 2500 heifers to do this. Moreover, we will only see the results of this in two years,” farmers claimed following the announcement made by the Government.
Former State Minister of Agriculture Vidura Wickramanayaka said the Government is importing 2,500 heifers from Australia while Sri Lanka possesses the know-how to develop the dairy industry of the country with the use of locally bred heifers.
“Just by importing 2500 heifers will it help? No. Because about 2 years back, 2500 heifers were imported by the Yahapalanaya Government and what happened? How many of them are still alive?,” Wickramanayake questioned while speaking on the Newsline program telecast on TV1 on Tuesday (2nd).
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association Dr Hemamali Kothalawala said all the animals that were brought before 2014 were brought to the national livestock development and were then released to humans.
“However, in 2017, the animals were brought and directly given to farmers for the purpose of establishing a commercial dairy industry. That project was a failure. We did not prepare the grass to feed the heifers, she added.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of the Sri Lanka Veterinary Officers Union Dr S. Sugirthan said that out of the 2500 heifers imported in 2017, 250 were given to the Vavuniya district.
“Sadly, most of those cows are sick and dead. There are only 25 farms left in the Vavuniya District. We object the importation of such cows, knowing the mistakes that took place in the past,” Veterinary Officers Union Assistant Secretary said.
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