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Coconut Grower’s Association of Sri Lanka AGM raises concerns about the industry

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The Annual General Meeting of the Coconut Grower’s Association of Sri Lanka (Gampaha Branch) was held recently. The Association once again raised concerns over the unrestricted import of palm oil which was adversely affecting the coconut industry with 80% of the coconut mills closing down in the recent past. 

Lalith Jayewardene

Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka (CGASL) – Gampaha Branch President Lalith Jayewardene highlighted their concerns in his speech, stating, “The unconstrained import of palm oil is creating an adverse effect on the industry and the economy of the country. The total palm oil imports for the year 2018 were 235,000 MT at the present price of $600 per MT to the value of $141 million. However, coconut oil consumption was only 27,000 MT resulting in a ratio of coconut oil to palm oil of 1 to 9 in a coconut growing country.

“It is also an irony that when you compare coconut exports which accounts for $20 million, to palm oil imports which are $141 million. Sri Lanka could save valuable foreign exchange and revive the coconut industry. Representations have been repeatedly made to the Government to provide incentives and subsidies to water the lands for conservation and moisture to no avail. Also, a minimum Farm Gate Price of Rs. 35 per nut to the farmer to maintain good agriculture practices and economic yields. 

“There is a market shift from traditional copra and desiccated coconut to coconut cream, coconut milk powder and virgin coconut oil, which should inadvertently benefit the farmer, but sadly is not happening due to the high imports of palm oil.

“The objective of The Coconut Growers Association is to strengthen the coconut growers by increasing yields of their coconut lands and obtain a good Farm Gate price and contribute towards a healthy nation by supporting the coconut industry.”

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