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Sri Lanka President bans palm oil imports, plantations to uproot oil palm

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had banned the import of palm oil and plantations companies would be required uproot trees in the field 10 percent at a time and plant rubber, his office said.

The aim was “to free Sri Lanka from oil palm plantation and palm oil consumption” the statement said.

Among the publicly listed firms which have palm oil are Watawala, Namunukula, Elpitiya and Agalawatte.

President’s Secretary P B Jayasundera had ordered the Controller General of Department of Imports and Exports Control to issue a gazette notice banning imports from April 05.

“Additionally, the Director-General of Customs has been informed of this decision and advised to refrain from clearing palm oil cargos at the Department of Customs,” the statement said.

“At the same time the cultivation of oil palm will be completely banned.”

Orders have been issued to ban the cultivation of oil palm completely.

Six months ago President Rajapaksa had instructed to “gradually ban” the cultivation of palm oil.

“Furthermore, those companies and entities which have done such cultivations shall be required to remove them on a phased out manner with 10 percent uprooting at a time and replacing it with the cultivation of rubber or environmental friendly crops each year to free Sri Lanka from oil palm plantation and palm oil consumption,” the statement said.

“When this is fully operational, the government intends to stop the cultivation of oil palm and the consumption of palm oil completely.”

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Several publicly listed regional plantations companies have grown palm oil after import taxes were raised on edible oils over the last decade to give high profits to owners of coconut plantations.

Palm oil has come under fire in Malaysia and Indonesia due to clearing tropical forests, but whether the the plants themselves are more environmentally damaging than some other monocrop has been debated. (Colombo/Apr05/2021)

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