Together with the improvement in the standards of living in developing countries, the demand for livestock products has increased dramatically in recent years. This trend is expected to continue such that by the year 2020 the value of animal products will be equal to those from all crops.
Sri Lanka has shown, for example, by more than 600% growth in poultry meat consumption over the last 15 years. Clearly, there will be an increasing demand for trained personnel to serve in the animal production sector, both locally and abroad. Such demands will be not only for primary animal production at farm level but in areas such as post-harvest handling and processing, aspects in which skills are presently lacking in Sri Lanka. These areas include the primary and further processing of milk and meat, good manufacturing practices, quality control and inspection, packaging, storage and transport.
There are several animal-related technologies such as animal feed manufacture and hide & skin technology in which there are no properly trained personnel available at present. In addition, the students will be exposed to the skills, knowledge and experience of scientists available in Research Institutes, Government departments, other universities and the livestock industry to supplement the teaching. Since the university is located in an area with a high concentration of livestock farms, a strong outreach program will be developed to benefit both farmers and students.