Cabinet nod for limited coconut imports

Thursday, 14 January 2021 01:39 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Pre-emptive approval given as estimates show 250 m shortfall of nuts in 2021
  • Cabinet agrees to earlier measure of starting imports if production drops below 400 m nuts 
  • 2.5 MT of coconut kernels imported last year to meet industry needs   

Cabinet this week pre-emptively gave approval for the Plantations Ministry to import frozen coconut kernels to support the industry, given production is expected to see a shortfall of 250 million nuts this year.

Cabinet on Monday gave approval to a Cabinet paper submitted by Plantations Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana to begin kernel imports according to a decision that was given in 2017. Under the earlier Cabinet decision imports can be made if coconut production is below 400 million nuts for four consecutive months.  Last year 2,542 metric tons of coconut kernel were imported during a period of eight months, the Government Information Department said. 

Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted on 12 December 2017 for the import of coconut kernels subject to certain conditions as a result of local coconut production supply being insufficient for industries related to coconut kernel.

“Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to grant their consent for the resolution submitted by the Minister of Plantations for taking necessary measures for importing coconut kernel for the local coconut kernel related industries under the same conditions applicable at the previous instance if bi-monthly coconut production is below the margin of 400 million of nuts within four months continuously,” the department statement said. 

In December the Government said it would import 39 metric tons (MT) of sliced dry coconut through the State-run B.C.C. Corporation over a period of three months to encourage local coconut oil producers.  

Under the proposal 13 MT of sliced dry coconut would be imported via the State-run B.C.C. each month for a three-month period.

According to the Government, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has found out that the coconut oil imported into the country contains nearly 70% of non-coconut oils. Due to the insufficient coconut production in the country, it has become a challenge for nearly 500 coconut and allied factories to keep functioning.