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Sri Lanka does not have a liquid milk market in order for it to serve as an alternative to the milk powder problems as the supply is unable to meet even the current demand, the Government Veterinary Officers Association stated today (August 21).

Speaking at a press conference held today in Colombo, Chairman of the GVOA, Dr. Hemali Kotalawala said that in order to set up a market for liquid milk, government intervention as well as a government policy is necessary.

She pointed out that India manages to supply fresh milk to all 28 of its states despite fresh milk being produced in only a handful of states. She stated that this was achieved through a well-placed distribution and sales policy.

Dr. Kotalawala added that these objectives could be achieved in Sri Lanka with steps such as to provide refrigeration facilities, loan facilities for farmers and tax concessions.

The daily milk production in Sri Lanka is about 900,000 litres while only around 20% of it is sold as liquid milk while the rest of the produce is sold to milk powder companies or used to produce other milk-based goods.

The Secretary of the GVOA, Dr. B.M.M. Ekanayake highlighted the serious shortage of veterinarians in the country, citing that there are around 1.6 million cattle farmers in Sri Lanka with 1.2 million cows and 400,000 buffalos while there are only 303 veterinarians to provide services to them.

He added that this leaves 5000 animals and 1500 farms for each veterinarian while pointing out that it was important to recruit more to the veterinary field.