Historical & Present review
National Livestock Development Board
The cradle of Dairy Development, which is a major component in the Livestock sector in Sri Lanka, could be considered as Narahenpita. It was at Narahenpita that the first Government Dairy was established in 1922 and the first Government milk processing Plant was installed in 1954. From the inception of the National livestock Development Board (NLDB) thirty five years have passed and is hardly a time scale in the life span of a state institution, but the few formative and eventful years gone by have certainly determined the Board’s destiny in the years to come. It is the most opportune time to look back, take stock and plan for the challenging tasks ahead
The National Livestock Development Board was established in 1973 under the State agricultural Corporation Act No. 11 of 1972. It’s field operations commenced in 1974. The redefined functions of the Board in 1977 were aimed at arresting the diminishing trend in the national herd and to concentrate on an intensive upgrading program of cattle both for the milk & draught, and to salvage as many breedable female cattle as possible. The broader objective of the Board is to uplift the socio-economic standards of the rural farmers. The many activities constitute the supply of breeding stock, to maintain and develop the Board’s Coconut Plantations, production of value added milk products and the education and training of farmers in the systems of integrated crop and livestock management. To meet these commitments the farms of the board were geared to serve the farmers in varying agro climatic regions while livestock breeding programs were also tailored to suit those climatic variations in different zones.
The lands vested in the government under the Land Reform Law were also handed over to the Board to establish farms for upgrading the indigenous herds to high producing dairy cattle. At present about 4,858 Ha. of Coconut land in the coconut Triangle have come under the scope of these activities. Upgrading of the cattle in the Coconut Triangle is carried out by cross breeding the local animals to Sahiwal and European Breeds.
Further, during the year 1992 thirteen farms managed by the department of Animal production & health were handed over to the board. These farms were finance starved and were in a run-down condition. The Board had to invest a colossal amount of money to resurrect these farms and as a result Board also faced liquidity problems. To fulfill these financial commitments the board had to borrow from banks. After the takeover of Departments of Animal Production & Health farms the Board presently has a total of 14088 Ha. of land.