Newly appointed staff members of the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) in Sri Lanka join in a three-week up-grading training course in modern intensive dairy farming. The training is supported by NUFFIC in the Tailor Made Training Programme by the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NPF) with trainers of Wageningen Livestock Research. The training is implemented together with inputs of Peradeniya University. Building up local training capacity is one of the additional elements of the project.
Focus during the first training week is on milking, housing and animal health. The trainees, all university graduates with 1-3 years of experience in dairy farming, learn i.e. to distinguish mastitis in milk, and get hands-on training in hoof trimming (see photograph impression). The training venue is the Ridiyagama Farm in the dry south of Sri Lanka. With 2,500 imported cross-bred cows Ridiyagama Farm is one of the 25 large scale farms managed by the NLDB.
The second week will be in January 2017, in which the trainees pay attention to animal nutrition, and fodder cultivation and conservation.
During the last week the trainees have to implement their newly gained knowledge and skills in small pilot projects for which they are required to develop farm improvement plans. Most important skill they should master after this training course is the skill to understand and approach all aspects of dairy farming in integral intensive farm setting, next to working as a team and how to obtain missing information.
Although most trainees are expected to build a career within the NLDB, past experience shows that in the future several will join other dairy projects in Sri Lanka. Most dairy enterprises in Sri Lanka already have former NLDB staff in managing positions.