Sri Lanka bans palm oil import; bakery industry hit hard

Sri Lanka has banned the import of palm oil with immediate effect, and also asked the producers in Sri Lanka to uproot palm oil plantations in a phased manner, reported Daily Times

Apr 06, 2021
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Sri Lanka has banned the import of palm oil with immediate effect, and also asked the producers in Sri Lanka to uproot palm oil plantations in a phased manner, reported Daily Times.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa on Monday announced the ban, saying the move is aimed at making the country free from palm oil plantation and palm oil consumptions, a trend that had been growing fast in recent years.

“Those companies and entities which have done such (palm oil) cultivations shall be required to remove them in a phased manner with 10% uprooting at a time and replacing it with the cultivation of rubber or environmental friendly crops each year,” reads a statement released by the President’s Office on Monday. 

The palm oil plantation industry has an estimated investment of around $131 million. Environmentalists in Sri Lanka, and around the world, have long been complaining about the degradation of forests and biodiversity due to these plantations. 

However, the sudden and unexpected move caught the country’s bakery industry off guard. 

“Almost all bakery products need four main ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and margarine. Palm oil is used to make margarine and now we unable to find margarine in the market,” N.K. Jayawardene, the President of All Ceylon Bakery Owners' Association, was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror. 

He further warned, “All bakeries, biscuit manufacturers, and confectioneries in the country will have to be closed down and more than 100,000 people will face the danger of losing their jobs.” 

The industry should have been given some time to find alternatives and options, he said, adding, “This will not bring any success whatsoever.” 

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