More local participation must to increase production - CGASL | Daily News
Coconut oil imports

More local participation must to increase production - CGASL

Plucked output from a Sri Lankan coconut plantation
Plucked output from a Sri Lankan coconut plantation

Even though around 2,500 small and medium-scale mills produce coconut oil in Sri Lanka it is reported that only a few large industries are involved in it according to the Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka (CGASL). This has resulted in imports of Coconut oil.According to the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) currently the coconut cultivation inSri Lanka is a little over one million hectares. The area under rubber cultivation is lower-at 126,700 ha (2018).

The Rs 2.9 billion nut production in 2012 fell to 2.5 billion in 2013 which then peaked to 3.05 billion which, thereafter declined to 2.45 billion. The production then peaked again to Rs 3 billion in 2019.

According to the existing demand for coconuts in Sri Lanka, the coconut industry here requires around 3.6billion nuts but the level of production is only between 2.5- 2.8 billion.

Sri Lanka is the fourth largest coconut producer in the world’s annual US $36 billion industry. Experts say that when it comes to Sri Lankan tree crops, coconut generates the highest per annum income compared to rubber and tea-the other two traditional tree crops.

Coconut generates Rs. 175,000 per hectare per annum, while tea and rubber produce Rs. 45,000 and Rs. 50,000 structural equation model brand equity.

According to Coconut Research Institute, the sector provides livelihoods to around 700,000 and employment to 135,000. This is twice the rate of that of the apparel sector.

Sri Lanka briefly woke up to the grim reality of the coconut’s plight in 2020 when it produced no less than a Cabinet paper. On December 22, 2020 the Cabinet approved a set of proposals presented by the Minister of Plantation and the Minister of the Industry for the development of the coconut-based industrial system.

Among the proposals were a complete prohibition on the sale of coconut oil mixed with palm oil or other oils to protect consumer rights and the brand name of the Sri Lankan coconut oil, recognition of the discouragement of palm oil consumption in the country and promotion of coconut oil as a basic policy of the government and permission to import only refined palm oil, concerning consumer rights and public health reasons, to provide relief to repay the loans obtained by the coconut industrials, the introduction of relief packages to increase the productivity of coconut plantations such as inter cropping, dairy farming, and irrigation to encourage coconut cultivation.

“This is a welcome step in the right direction. Still, it is not the ‘only step’ in that direction,” says CGASL.