At one time we were self sufficient in milk. The multi national companies gradually and surreptitiously changed our consumption habits of the “Nation” by offering milk food at a very competitive price so that the farmers were compelled to close the dairy and sell the cows.
The change of food habits also led to the production of our cattle where some time back it was with utmost reluctance that the villager sold his cow for slaughter. The cow, treated as second mother was used for milking and the bull to pull the cart and in the paddy field. Killing cattle for meat is unacceptable. Now the values have changed, we are now meat and beef eating nation.
Recently there are protests and agitations regarding the increase of milk to unbearable levels. It is true that the prices of liquid milk and powdered milk have gone up drastically. Two decades ago Sri Lanka was a country where fresh milk was freely available at an affordable price.
In 1981 under the policy of liberalisation and privatisation the government took decision to close the national milk board and signed an agreement with a multinational company, to develop the dairy industry.
After 20 years there is no fresh milk available in the market, the entire milk food sector is in the hands of just two or three large companies which market only milk powders imported from the West."