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Two-day P’ment debate on milk powder imports

A two-day debate will be allowed in Parliament to discuss milk powder imports to Sri Lanka and the findings of the expert committee appointed to investigate allegations of possible contamination of milk powder imported from New Zealand.

The dates for the debate will be set in consultation with the Party Leaders, confirmed the Government.

State Minister of Industry and Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Co-operative Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development Buddhika Pathirana, responding to a supplementary question, stated that there are 29 important findings highlighted by the panel of experts which should be taken up in Parliament.

Pathirana, highlighting Rs. 362.753 billion spent in importing milk powder between 2010 – 2019 May despite the growth in the local dairy industry, held that the imports will remain between Rs. 25 billion – Rs. 35 billion range in 2019, due to the public discussions on foreign milk powder.

According to Central Bank, during 2018 the total milk production in Sri Lanka increased by 19% to 471.6 million litres in 2018, compared to 396.2 million litres in 2017. Cow milk production increased by 17.7% to 385.7 million litres, while buffalo milk production increased by 25.3% to 85.9 million litres in comparison to 2017.

Revealing the total value and the importers of milk powder from New Zealand under each brand name, the State Minister said: “In 2010 – Rs. 30.395 billion, in 2011 – Rs. 36.475 billion, in 2012 – Rs. 36.676 billion, in 2013 – Rs. 35.279 billion, in 2014 – Rs. 44.029 billion, in 2015 – Rs. 31.796 billion, in 2016 – Rs. 32.657 billion, in 2017 – Rs. 44.876 billion, in 2018 – Rs. 50.311 billion, in 2019 May end – Rs. 19.256 billion were imported. The importers of full cream milk powder from New Zealand include Fonterra (Raththi and Anchor), Maliban (Maliban and Melco), Lanka Milkfoods CWE Ltd. (Lakspray), Shaa Lanka Trading Ltd. (Candy), Millers (Milca), P.M. Mohamad Ali Ltd. (Diamond), and East-West Ltd. (Milgrow), while Ariya Milk Products Ltd. (Araliya) was imported from Australia.”

“In addition, Fonterra (Anchor Shapeup and Anlene Low Fat), Maliban (Maliban Fit and Slim), Lanka Milkfoods CWE Ltd. (Lakspray non-fat), and Millers (Bonlac) imported non-fat milk powder from New Zealand. The infant milk powder importers are the Darley Butler, A. Baur and Company, Nestle Lanka Ltd., AIM Ltd., and CIC Holdings Ltd.,” he added, highlighting the importance of increasing the domestic dairy industry.

During 2018, the number of milking cows in Sri Lanka increased by 11.2% to 329,380, while the number of milking buffalo cows increased by 8.9% to 94,200. Despite increased production, domestic milk production is only sufficient to meet around 45% of the country’s total demand, revealed the CBSL in its report.

 

(FT)

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