At the session, local dairy women highlighted key challenges they face in their day to day farming activities including the irregular supply of quality feed and water, the need for veterinary services and the need for better time management when considering household and farming commitments.
In discussing these roadblocks, Ms. Levelink shared simple solutions and ways of working that help her and her fellow New Zealand farmers to increase their farms’ production and quality. She covered areas such as effective approaches to managing livestock and improving cattle health, farm productivity, and additional income opportunities from the existing herd.
“From my visits to farms around Sri Lanka, it is evident that women play a crucial role in local dairy farming, and there is great potential for them to further enhance the industry. As a woman in dairy myself, I understand some of the common challenges we all face, such as the unpredictability of the weather, as well as combing the farm business and the household activities.
“ Women can play an active role in not only identifying the challenges faced by her farm and family but collaborate with other farmers in the community to find practical solutions. It is important to instill the self-confidence and knowledge necessary for women so they can support their families in a sustainable way, in turn making them contributors to the dairy industry ” said Levelink.
Managing Director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka and the Indian Subcontinent Sunil Sethi said the session was all about women empowering women – sharing their knowledge and insights to uplift the dairy industry.
“This fits within Fonterra's farmer development commitment, where we draw on our Co-operative’s experience in New Zealand and work closely with Sri Lankan farmers to find solutions that work locally. This enables them to make an even greater contribution to their businesses, and ultimately the industry and economy,” said Mr. Sethi.
Ms. Levelink was selected as one of four New Zealand farmers to visit local dairy farms and provide hands-on training to both farmers and Fonterra’s Supplier Relationship Officers in areas such as animal feeding, animal health and welfare, milk quality and production and running the farming business.