October : Hon. Basil Rajapakse, head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation, recently attended an observation tour of the Watawala Dairy Farm in Lonach Estate, Ginigathena.
The state-of-the-art dairy farm by Watawala Dairy Limited (WDL), a 100% subsidiary of Sri Lanka’s leading diversified agribusiness company Watawala Plantations, today manages a herd of 1, 600 dairy cattle with an ultramodern milking parlour which can produce over 6 million litres of fresh milk annually (17,000 litres of fresh milk per day). Sunshine Holdings Group Managing Director Vish Govindasamy, Watawala Plantations Chief Executive Officer Binesh Pananwala and few other officials from WDL accompanied Mr. Rajapakse during his visit.
Mr. Rajapakse commended Watawala Plantations on its successful dairy operations and its contribution to the economy by committing to the government’s effort to promote local milk production and achieve self-sufficiency in milk. He also praised the company’s efforts in allocating small areas of lands to families to cultivate land and supply farm with maize, grass and other input materials, as an additional source of income. The farm, with the help of advanced technology, processes the cattle feed by wholly utilising the corn of maize. Mr. Rajapakse noted that this initiative has helped to increase the income level of farmers who provide maize to the farm. He also suggested evaluating new revenue streams to develop sustainable agribusiness practices, including the production of biogases and carbonic fertiliser using cow dung.
WDL aims to drive sustainable production of fresh milk in Sri Lanka, and the company is conscious that healthy husbandry that covers sound animal health and welfare underpins high yields and quality of milk. The farm provides facilities to a nourishing herd with feed supplements scientifically formulated by a global expert nutritionist with the construction of its feed mill to process the special cattle feed. Stringent hygiene farm management controls have been implemented within the farm, conforming to international standards, including adequate supplies of clean water, slurry operation and effluent management system.
WDL also has a fully computerised, automated, state of the art milking parlour system from a globally renowned supplier which is capable of monitoring the progress of each animal’s yield and quality of milk produced. Sensors are clipped to the ear of each heifer to measure temperature, activity, resting time, rumination time, feeding behaviour, facilitating better care over the welfare of each cow. Furthermore, the company has employed three veterinary surgeons to attend to animal health.
Watawala Dairy Limited is committed to ensuring the sustainability of the environment and social-economic progress of the estate community. Some of the key initiatives include flaring of methane gas trapped from the waste management system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, production of biogas from cattle waste to support energy needs, distribution of milk to schools, upgrading the water distribution schemes for villages around the farm and infrastructure development.
About Watawala Plantations
Watawala Plantations PLC (CSE: WATA) is a diversified agribusiness company in Sri Lanka with a focus on palm oil and dairy operations. The company manages a total land extent of over 3,400 Ha in Palm Oil with a workforce of over 1,500 people, which makes it the largest Palm Oil plantation in Sri Lanka with an annual production of 12,000 MT of palm oil. The company’s dairy farm operation under Watawala Dairy Ltd (WDL), a 100% subsidiary of WATA, manages a herd of 1, 600 dairy cattle with a state-of-the-art milking parlour which can produce over 6 million litres of fresh milk annually. With a market capitalisation of Rs. 3.7 billion, WATA has the highest market capitalisation among all plantation companies in the Colombo Stock Exchange.