Milking For Life Village, Irruttumadu

  • Description

page_reqWhy are we are invested in this project?

Sri Thanya is dairy farmer but she she lost half her cattle during the war. Luckily following the war, when she returned back home, she was able to find the three that remained. But they are all local breeds and they produce 1 – 2 litres a milk a day.

Milk production is a rapidly growing industry in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Since the conflict ended, many new private sector and semi-governmental actors have moved into the areas of dairy development such as milk collection and establishing processing centres. Milk production has long been a source of food and secondary income in the northern districts, but the arrival of businesses such as Nestle, Milco and others has raised the interest and profile of milk production as an income earning strategy. This is increasing demand for higher yielding crossbreeds that can produce three-times the daily milk production of the local cow varieties.

This project works with 48 farmers in the village to introduce higher yielding cross breeds and providing training and mentoring on best cattle practices and self producing inputs to reduce maintenance costs. This will transform the income and lives of Sri Thanya’s and the 47 other dairy farmers in her village.

The Benefits

The project will directly impact 48 small scale farmers and indirectly benefit over 150 people

  • Build social capital in the village by adopting a pass the gift methodology – dairy farmers who receive a subsidised cow much pass on the baby calf to one of the other farmers in the programme

  • Farmers have an understanding and adopt new technologies and practices that will significantly improve milk production

  • Reduce the cost of maintenance by self-producing inputs, increasing the profitability of the dairy farmers businesses

  • Improved milk quality to meet more profitable market requirements

  • Increase income for families to better meet their needs and pursue goals important to them

How will the project work?

The project will identify 48 women who are already working as dairy farmers or have previous experience to learn how to grow their dairy businesses through the introduction of high yielding cows.

The project will provide in-depth training to 48 women in:

  • Intensive cow management – a technique that enables high production despite the small lands of many of the women

  • Looking after the health of the cows

  • Improving the breed of the cows naturally through Artificial Insemination

  • Ensuring highest quality of milk to enable the women to access higher prices, and among other things

  • Learning how to self-produce inputs, such as fodder (feed for the cows) to reduce the cost of maintaining their dairy businesses

The program is special because the 48 women work closely together, supporting each other and sharing their learnings and their challenges. 24 women are initially provided with a subsidised high breed cow and when the cow births a calf, they pass it on to the other 24 women in the program. In this way the women pass the gift they receive to ensure others in their village thrive!


The program will support the training of the new techniques and provide intensive mentoring so that in time, farmers understand and have fully adopted these improved practices. Most importantly, facilitation of farmer to farmer training enables a strong culture of support to thrive in the village as farmers begin to understand that as producers they are much stronger in the market place as a collective.

With improved skills, farmers will be able to stand on their own two feet without the continued support from our local team.

This program forms part of a 5 year village program in the village of Irruttumadu. For 5 years our local team will be based in the village supporting farmers to learn new techniques and supporting them as they adopt the practices. After 5 years our team exists from the village and the farmers and the village will continue to thrive!

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