ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is allowing the import of coconut dried coconut slices with the seed coat for domestic processing, under a state monopoly, the state information office said amid higher domestic prices for coconut.
The import which will months will be a monopoly of the state-run British Ceylon Corporation (BCC).
BCC is one of a series of firms that were expropriated by native rulers after self-determination in 1948, undermining property rights and ratcheting up regime uncertainty.
The Cabinet of Ministers had allowed the import of kernel slices for three months.
Sri Lanka’s private firms, including multi-nationals, have started exporting virgin coconut oil (first extract) and coconut milk over the last few years.
Whenever droughts hits and Sri Lanka’s coconut output drop, desiccated coconut producers and oil mills run out of raw coconut.
Sri Lanka has placed import duties vegetable oils to ‘protect’ coconut land owners, who are close to ruling political parties. Some politicians themselves have been coconut land-owners.
The recent trend towards the export of high value virgin coconut oil and coconut milk exports had emerged due to private sector ingenuity and brand building amid obstacles placed by the state, in pushing up costs, analysts say.
In retail markets, customers buy brands which have consistent taste and safety record, not necessarily due to any geography.
After placing various obstacles in the face of innovations through coercive regulation, interventionists then complain that exports are not diversified, critics say. (Colombo/Dec26/2020)