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Sri Lanka: Sharing Experiences among Dairy Farmers in the North and the East

More than five years have passed since PWJ first responded to provide humanitarian aid support to the post-conflict devastations in Sri Lanka. After the emergency response was completed, PWJ started providing livelihood support programs in Trincomalee District, Eastern Province. In 2013, PWJ started a new project called “Farmers’ Cooperative Market Access Support” in Tricomalee. This project is aimed to provide Trincomalee District farmers cooperatives opportunities to gain knowledge and skills to manufacture more market competitive products, also to encourage more participation in marketing and business activities which PWJ hopes to help them lead to better financial situation and to secure more self sustainable future for their village. This year, instead of offering in-house trainings, PWJ organized exchange visit programs between Trincomalee area farmers cooperatives and cooperatives in Kilinochchi, North Province.

Dairy store staff at the exchange

In August, cooperative members from Northern Province visited cooperatives in Kilinochchi Muthur division, Trincomalee District, where the dairy farmers cooperatives operates a milk collection facility and dairy product store. In September, the team from Muthur traveled to north to visit Kilinochchi cooperatives in return. The following story is about this exchange in Kilinochchi.

Exchanging information and experiences among farmer’s cooperatives:

At first, Muthur cooperatives visited one of the milk collection facility and dairy product stores in Kilinochchi district cooperatives, where the operation of the milk separator, the production of ice-lolly (popsicle), ice cream and yogurt were demonstrated by the members. During the visit, lively discussions were exchanged with many questions answered, and various topics ranged from required skills in producing and packaging, to actual cooperative operation and management were exchanged between these two cooperatives members. Through observing the successful dairy farm cooperative operation in Kilinochchi, PWJ could see the Muthur team gained practical ideas and views about their own production, marketing and possible arrangement back in their field.

Demonstration of Yogurt Production

The team visited the second milk collection facility where they saw different packaging design and flavors to compete against the other facilities. Participants from Muthur cooperatives could see the fair market competitiveness among the Kilinochchi farmers cooperatives helped improve each other’s technical, marketing, and management skills. When all participants from Kilinochchi and Muthur gathered around a table for feedbacks, and share the cost and benefit case analyses data, more practical issues were acknowledged and new ideas were mentioned. At the end, both cooperatives understood better about the challenges they face, such as efficient work environment and quality management.

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Family enjoying locally made ice cream

Lively discussions and new ideas for future market opportunities:
On a drive back from Kilinochchi, the participants from the Muthur cooperatives energetically shared reflections and identified their strengths & weaknesses based on this visit. On the very next day, the staff at the Muthur milk collection facility and dairy product store was already working on the new flavors of their ice-lolly brand! Further interest and support is expected for their marketing, production and sales efforts on the part of this project, with good maintenance of motivations for better operation of cooperative societies as well as positive contributions to their community well-being.

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Passionate exchange between two cooperatives

PWJ is very pleased to be a part of such a great exchange between two farming cooperatives working to improve the livelihoods of many farming families. This project will continue for another one year and a half and we hope to help livelihood of many more farmers.


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