Fonterra: Today’s businesses must empower students with an extraordinary purpose

Volunteer New Zealand farmers conduct dairy farming masterclasses with students geared towards uplifting smallholder farming practices

Over time one’s career ambitions will be developed by a combination of their education and experience. During this journey, many who will ultimately become the future leaders of Sri Lanka’s industries recognise and pursue a desire to work towards a greater purpose.

Human Resources Director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, Dinusha Jayamanne, said today’s businesses must enable tomorrow’s leaders to identify and fulfil this purpose.

“At Fonterra, beyond selling dairy products, we’re guided by our purpose to go beyond the ordinary to create a healthier and happier nation. We foster this drive in both our current and future employees.

“Our employees do this by meeting the nutritional needs of people across different life stages and growing the country’s local dairy industry.

“The breadth of roles we offer across the entire local dairy value chain – from designing innovative, exciting Anchor Newdale dairy products made from fresh milk, to supply chain and production, marketing and execution - means that every Fonterra employee is part of a larger cause, and contributes to uplifting the local dairy industry.

“We are committed to fostering young leaders who will play an important role in steering the future course of the dairy industry. By providing them with unique experiences and opportunities for education and development, we will help them, and our dairy industry, achieve their full potential,” said Ms. Jayamanne.

With this in mind, the dairy co-operative has collaborated with leading local universities to provide opportunities for students to learn from ‘dairy farming masterclasses’ hosted by Fonterra New Zealand farmer volunteers, Dan Hinton and Bob Rigter. The masterclasses are aimed at equipping the next generation of leaders with the skills and knowledge to grow and uplift the local dairy industry.

Students from the Faculty of Agriculture (Department of Animal Science) and the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Peradeniya and Faculty of Livestock, Fisheries and Nutrition at Wayamba University participated in sessions on advances in New Zealand dairy farming practices and key areas in which Sri Lankan dairy farmers can enhance milk productivity and quality.

Apart from the classroom sessions, students from the University of Peradeniya also participated in a session at the Livestock Field Station to discuss various practical aspects of dairy farming, hosted by Dan Hinton. Bob Rigter hosted his interactive masterclass at Fonterra’s Demonstration and Training Farm in Pannala where he spoke about the principles of dairy farm management in New Zealand.

Dr. Janak Vidanarachchi, Senior Lecturer – Department of Animal Science at Peradeniya, who facilitated the programme at the university said, “Our students had a very rare chance to engage with a New Zealand dairy farmer with extensive experience running an efficient, large-scale dairy business. Interactions like this provide a valuable forum for students and academics to gain insights into issues affecting their industry. I would like to thank Fonterra for initiating the programme and look forward to similar programmes in future,” said Dr. Vidanarachchi.

Professor Ajith Jayaweera, Senior Lecturer – Department of Livestock and Avian Science at Wayamba University said, “It was a great opportunity. This was a rare chance for our undergraduates to work and discuss with an industry professional from one of the best dairy producing countries in the world. I am happy that Fonterra has established a collaborative programme for the betterment of our students and the future of the industry.”

Both New Zealand farmers also visited local dairy farmers to share insights on farm development and potential improvement opportunities.