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Govt. to import cattle from India, Pakistan

By Ifham Nizam

Plans were underway to import dairy cows from India and Pakistan shortly, a senior officer of the Ministry of Agriculture said. Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera had held discussions with the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Bhagle, on several occasions regarding the procurement of dairy cows from India, the official said.

Amaraweera said that getting cows from India and Pakistan were cheaper and the animals always adapted to Sri Lanka’s climatic conditions better than those from Australia and New Zealand. Previous attempts to import animals from Australia and New Zealand had proven disastrous, the Minister said. Meanwhile, arrangements were also made to catch buffaloes released into sanctuaries for grazing and send them to the NLDB farms.

Cattle farmers in several districts were in dire straits due to lack of grassy land, and many of them were in the habit of releasing their animals into sanctuaries and forests, the Minister added.The Wildlife Department says that due to these animals grazing in the forests, there was a lack of fodder for other wild animals and the situation has even led to wild elephants invading human settlements.

These matters were taken up at the Wildlife Department progress review meeting held on Thursday at the Ministry of Agriculture. The discussion was chaired by Minister Amaraweera, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation, Mrs. Chandra Herath, and the Director Generals of Wildlife and Forest Conservation were also present.

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