“If promoted palm oil industry could save country billions” | Daily News

“If promoted palm oil industry could save country billions”

Businessman and Minister of Investment promotion Dhammika Perera has stated to bat for the Palm oil industry in a bid to save the country several billion incurred annually towards Palm oil imports.

In a TV interview the new Minister said that due to the Palm oil import ban Sri Lanka is draining around USD 400million annually towards these imports. This is when palm oil was grown and manufactured in Sri Lanka. There are about 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) of oil palms planted across Sri Lanka. Perera said that the successive governments were ill advised by ‘so called intellectuals/environmentalists who said that palm oil plantations create major negative impacts to the soil.

“I don’t agree with this as Malaysia and Indonesia grow Palm and they earn billions of dollars by exporting them. In addition India also grows palm oil and has even gone to the extent of providing subsidies for farmers to grow more.”

Several plantation companies have invested over RS 500 million to grow palm oil since the government allowed palm oil plantations. Ther Minister said that Sri Lanka needs Palm oil for baker’s products and current local supply is not sufficient to meet that demand and the government must re-look at lifting this ban.

Supporting the Minister’s claim Asoka Nugawela, an emeritus professor in the Faculty of Agriculture at Wayamba University, said oil palm in Sri Lanka is generally cultivated in areas where annual rainfall exceeds 3,500 millimeters (138 inches), while their water requirement is about 1,300 mm (51 in). “So the argument that they could cause springs to run dry isn’t true,” Nugawela said.

“If you visit oil palm plantations, you can witness healthily flowing streams full of life,”he added. (SS)

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