Sri Lankan palm oil firms form lobby after environmental strictures

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan palm oil growing plantations companies have banded together in a new association following concerns raised by environmental authorities and a temporary halt to new planting.

A statement said businesses with a cumulative investment of about Rs 26 billion in oil palm formed an industry association under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The Palm Oil Industry Association (POIA) aims  to promote common interests and advocate ‘Sustainable Growth through Responsible Production.’

Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said at the launch the government is pursuing a policy to permit cultivation of up to 20,000 hectares of oil palm in Sri Lanka and that he as the minister in charge was committed to it.

But, he stressed, policy guidelines on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), procedures and protocols would have to be developed when implementing the decision.

Dissanayake said the industry is working closely with a committee formed by the National Economic Council to address some of the strictures made by the Central Environment Authority (CEA) on the industry.

The POIA represents cultivators of oil palm, and refiners, processors, manufacturers, marketers and sellers of palm oil and other products of the oil palm.

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“The POIA has identified as one of its first tasks the need to work with government authorities and industry experts to address a recently-manifested campaign of misinformation targeting the industry,” the statement said.

The CEA has said it wants time to study claims of harmful side-effects of oil palm such as ground water depletion, soil erosion and high agro-chemical use.

Oil palm growing districts reportedly decided to temporarily halt new oil palm plantations following protests by residents.
(COLOMBO, 03 September, 2018)
 

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