New NZ-led dairy projects in Sri Lanka
Master dairy trainers will be schooled by local experts as part of two projects aimed at boosting New Zealand's involvement in Sri Lanka's dairy industry.
The two dairy co-operation projects, worth around $5.9 million, were agreed by Prime Minister John Key and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena today as a part of Mr Key's three-day visit.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other cabinet ministers were also involved at the meeting.
About 20 master trainers along with 180 extension staff will be trained by New Zealand dairy experts who will in turn pass their newly-learnt expertise onto local producers at 3000 Sri Lankan farms.
"New Zealand is strongly committed to helping improve the productivity and efficiency of the Sri Lankan dairy industry, in order to improve the livelihoods of the Sri Lankan people," Mr Key said.
In addition, communities affected by the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war will receive New Zealand support as part of the Wanni Dairy Regeneration Activity which aims to boost dairy production and improve the quality of life for families across nine districts in the Northern, Eastern and North Central provinces.
"The Sri Lankan Government is making real progress as it undertakes a significant programme of post-war reconciliation and economic reform, and the opportunities for us to work more closely together are immense."
The new dairy projects form part of a Dairy Co-operation Arrangement between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, which has been in effect since 2013.
Mr Key said he believes Sri Lanka offers significant opportunities to New Zealand businesses with enhanced co-operation serving as a platform for further expansion into the South Asia region.