Nearly 120 dairy farmers, farm managers, extension officers and other professionals in the fast-developing dairy sector in Sri Lanka have successfully completed a training course, organized by HollandDoor, in sustainable feed and waste management. Of the six scheduled training sessions, two were conducted fully online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This training event was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka’s dairy industry.
The bespoke training, which focused on practical, hands-on skills, was requested by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka with financial support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO; Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland). It was conducted by a Dutch consortium consisting of HollandDoor, Wageningen Livestock Research and Yuverta, in close collaboration with local partners such as the All Island Dairy Association (AIDA), and the University of Peradeniya.
The training was offered to a group of dairy professionals who wanted to improve their knowledge and skills on feed and waste management. Between February and May 2021, all participants followed the online courses and carried out exercises offline in between.
Every week, the trainers spent several hours online with the participants to work on nutrition and feeding, the lactation cycle, cow signals, and sustainable waste management. The trainees made their own feed plan, learned how to assess their cows and explored the business aspects of farming.
A highlight of the course was a practical session, in which participants from Sri Lanka logged in online and assessed a Dutch farm and its cows through a video connection. At the final meeting, all participants presented their action plans for farm improvement to a mix of Dutch and Sri Lankan assessors.
Though the online training of practical skills can be challenging at times, this training event has shown that it is certainly possible and effective! The following comment from one of our participants sums it up adequately:
“I was excited to be part of this training program. Though I am not an academic, I tried to keep up with others. It was very interesting and packed with learning activities. I would like to thank AIDA and the other institutions for organizing it. And a special thanks to the trainers that made the training informative and interactive. The practical sessions were awesome.”
For more information please contact Lisanne Oskam.