Dutch government officials and the Dutch businesses recently signed an agreement which confirms their commitment to support improving Sri Lanka’s dairy sector.
Dairy companies in the Netherlands, world-famous for its farming expertise and dairy products, entered into this agreement with Sri Lanka to modernize the country’s milk production value chains and to share technical skills to help local farmers build sustainable businesses. Dutch dairy businesses and knowledge institutes are eager to support Sri Lanka’s dairy industry by way of providing technical expertise, knowledge and training.
Program Manager, Internationalization of Dutch Wellantcollege, Jan Jeronimus said the agreement is aimed at fulfilling three main objectives; building the entire dairy production value chain, creating a sustainable, long-term business model, and sharing knowledge and technology support with the local industry.
He added that the Netherlands and Sri Lanka have quite similar dairy industry backgrounds. “Dairy is a family-based business in the Netherlands; Sri Lanka’s situation is similar to the Netherlands. Our model is already proven to be successful as the country has already become a key dairy industry in the world.”
Dairy industry as export powerhouse
The Dutch dairy industry officials visiting the country said they had been successful in ensuring generations of dairy farmers remain in the industry and making it a dairy export powerhouse, having overcome obstacles similar to what Sri Lanka faces today where youth are shunning farm work in favour of white-collar jobs.
A Dutch dairy industry expert told journalists in Colombo of their experience in encouraging youngsters to remain on dairy farms. “We were successful in convincing young people that it was a thriving industry with many opportunities to grow, professionally and personally, while contributing immensely to the overall economy,” Director International Agribusiness, of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, Michiel van Erkel said.
The Netherlands: Land of dairy
The Netherlands is known as a dairy country and the Dutch dairy sector is an important part of the country’s economy with thousands of jobs and billions in revenue. Most Dutch dairy farmers co-own their dairy factory.
Family farming is the backbone of the dairy industry in the Netherlands and the dairy farmers have successfully positioned themselves in foreign markets through farmer-owned co-operatives. Today the dairy farmers and milk processors work closely with research institutions and agricultural universities. Dutch companies are investing heavily in R&D, and several of the world’s leading dairy research institutes can be found in the Netherlands.
Support in training, education and technology
Ambassador of the Netherlands, Joanne Doornewaard, stated that the vision of the business delegation was not only to look for technology partnerships.
“The Netherlands is already a large investor in Sri Lanka. We continue to support, and invest in Sri Lanka.” As a world leader in the dairy sector, the Netherlands is keen to focus on dairy training and education, in addition to bringing in the technology.
Partners for International Business (PIB)
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency executes the program Partners for International Business as commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.