The palm oil business is in a serious crisis in Sri Lanka as a result of an informal planting ban, Rs. 500 million of crops are lost in nurseries.
The President of the Planters Association (PA), Sunil Poholiyadde, said that “there is a prohibition in Sri Lanka, where nobody knows where it was originated. That is why we can not plant fresh trees.” He said that whenever the trees are planted, NGOs and environmental organizations generate a major problem.
Previously, 20.000 hectares of palm trees were approved by the Cabinet in Sri Lanka and to date, 11.000 hectares were planted. Several planting firms have also imported seeds and developed nurseries, and these trees are now overwhelmed with planting. In nurseries around the world, the value of these crops is around Rs. 500 million and the trees would die naturally if they were not planted quickly.
In comparison, however, Indian Premier Narendra Modi has allowed two million hectares of palm oil in India to be planted. “Multiple public representations were produced by the PA, but without success. We plan on representing President Maithripala Sirisena again shortly, “he said.
Binesh Pananwala, CEO of Watawala Plantations, said Sri Lanka is now importing palm oil in the order of Rs. 30 billion per year. In Malaysia, too, palm oil is cultivated in over 5 million hectares of territory for the last 25 years; “The cultivation of palm oil is more lucrative than growing and retaining rubber and palm oil plantations gives three times more profit and use far less work” And if there are environmental or weather problems, Malaysia should be a desert now, “said Professor Asoka Nugawela of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Wayamba.
In the vicinity of palm oilfields, research has also shown that there are fresh fish species, proving that there is no water contamination.
He also said that no waste is produced through palm oil because the waste can be used for power production or can be used as a fertilizer.
He said that the problem began in Sri Lanka with a study from the Environmental Authority and told the government that the plantation of palm oil had a negative impact on the environment.