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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2679

EC and UNDP set-up a model dairy village in Kopay

Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 03 February, ( European Commission has jointly initiated a Transition Programme to develop model Dairy Villages in the conflicted areas in Sri Lanka. According to the local EC delegation office, the first Dairy Village in Kopay , Jaffna shows successful results.

The project has donated milk cows for 'have-nots' and most of housewives came forward to participate in this model diary village concept.

A number of villagers attended this project and there are a number of successful stories, said a spokeswoman of the local EC office.

According to the EC and UNDP sources, a 38 year Renuka Velayuthapillai is a widow caring for a 11 year old son and living with her elderly parents in Kopay, Jaffna. A year ago she received a milking cow under a government poverty elevation programme.

Though she is a good tailor and had been teaching sewing for a few students, her income from tailoring was not sufficient to provide for her family. As she started to earn a small profit from her one cow, her interest on animal husbandry increased.

Being an enthusiastic worker and the sole breadwinner of her family she managed to purchase a second cow with a Rs.10,000 loan from a local CBO and her savings. The closure of sole A9 land route leading to Jaffna due to the current conflict has caused serious food shortages particularly for items such as milk powder and thus dramatically increasing the demand for fresh milk.

Though the cost of animal feed also increased, Renuka sees the increased demand as an opportunity for her to increase her family income. But she was unable to meet the demand with her two cows and her financial situation did not allow her to buy another cow.

She said, “I am very lucky that I have been selected for this project. I have proven myself as an effective livestock breeder in my division and was given a milking cow and necessary veterinarian drugs at this very critical time.”

Now she has three cows and she sells twelve liters of milk per day. She has approximately twenty-five regular customers and she delivers the milk at their doorsteps each morning and evening. She has her own cost cutting mechanism to maximize the profit: once she delivers the milk, she collects the kitchen waste from her customers, which reduces her feeding costs.

She said that she needs two hours cycling in the morning and evening for the milk delivery and her parents help her to ensure the timely delivery of milk, as she should deliver the milk before the children leave for school.

From her experience, she estimates that her monthly income will increase by Rs. 4,000 due to this additional milking cow, she received 2 weeks ago through the EU funded LDP.

This has given her the ability to look at the longer-term picture, and she has already started pasture grass cultivation and upgrading her cattle shed.

She feels empowered that despite her difficult situation she is now able to provide for her family and remain out of debt.

She adds, “Me and this project will be a good example and model to others and the neighboring villages.”

- Asian Tribune -

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