With the aim to “free Sri Lanka from oil palm plant and palm oil consumption” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa six months prior gave instructions to gradually ban the cultivation of oil palm plants across the island. Following these instructions the president has issued various directives to authorities to ban the import of palm oils into the country.
Several publically listed regional plantation companies such as Watawala, Namunukula, Elpitiya and Agalawatte had grown oil palm plants locally as over the last decade the important tax on edible oils has continued to increase. This increase in tax has contributed to a significant increase in profits for coconut plantation owners.
While all future planting of oil palm trees has also been banned the companies are required to uproot 10% of the plants through a phased process. These oil palm plants are to be replaced by either rubber or environmentally friendly crops.
The actions of the government seem to follow the trend of increased action against palm oil and oil palm plants across the world. Malaysia and Indonesia have placed the trees on the chopping block as the plantations have caused significant clearing of forests. However experts are yet to decide whether the plant is more environmentally damaging compared to other mono-crops.
No.820, Mount Cresent,Malabe,Sri Lanka