The Asian Palm Oil Association (APOA) renewed its call to the Sri Lankan government, urging it to reconsider the temporary ban on oil palm cultivation.
The APOA, a multilateral body representing the industry across India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, in a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently expressed concerns about the significant negative impact of these policy decisions for the island nation.
“Oil palm cultivation in Sri Lanka presents an exceptional, win-win opportunity to strengthen the economy, reduce imports, improve food security and support sustainable development goals,” said the APOA in its letter to Wickremesinghe.
With strategic planning, collaboration and sustainable practices, the APOA expressed its firm belief that Sri Lanka could unleash the potential of palm oil whilst safeguarding its natural resources and ecosystems.
The APOA and its members have offered to collaborate with the local stakeholders, share knowledge and experiences and support the development of a sustainable palm oil industry in Sri Lanka.
By doing so, Sri Lanka can strengthen its economy, enhance food security and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This would be done alongside ensuring responsible environmental practices and no damage to local ecosystems, the APOA affirmed.
“We are willing to share our experiences and assist the Sri Lankan government in designing a palm oil mission with a vision of producing 250,000 MT of palm oil in the country to achieve self-sufficiency in vegetable oils and reduce the outflow of foreign exchange,” the APOA said.
It noted that the effort would pave the way for export-oriented value addition of coconut products and bring in more foreign exchange to the country.
The APOA said it would also offer support to Sri Lanka to devise its own sustainability framework, which is inclusive and considers the concerns of the local people. Accordingly, palm oil production could be certified locally against the national sustainability standard.
“We strongly believe that promoting sustainable production and trade in palm oil is a much more effective way than introducing a ban as an instrument of protectionism or a non-trade barrier,” it said.
Sri Lanka’s recent decision to either temporarily ban or restrict palm oil cultivation has attracted significant attention both domestically and internationally.
The APOA pointed out that one of the primary reasons to support the cultivation of oil palms in Sri Lanka is the acute shortage of cooking oil in the country. Global disruptions caused by the Covid-19 crisis and Russia-Ukraine war have severely affected vegetable oil supply chains.
Oil palm contributes to 15 goals/subgoals, out of the 17 SDGs.
source daily mirror