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Environment Ministry instructs CEA to continue decision not to promote Palm Oil cultivation in Sri Lanka

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The government has taken steps to deactivate palm oil cultivation in several stages and not to promote it.

Also, in line with the recommendations made to the Presidential Task Force for a Sustainable Economic through the climate change have been expressed regarding the phasing out of the palm oil currently cultivated in our country and the cultivation of eco-friendly plants on those lands.

The Minister inquired about palm oil cultivation in Sri Lanka while discussing the reports prepared for tabling in Parliament the five year audit reports of the Central Environmental Authority and GSMB Technical Services (PVT) Limited, a state-owned enterprise. Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Hemantha Jayasinghe, Director General of the Central Environmental Authority were also present.

Officials of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) said that steps could not be taken to manage palm oil cultivation under the National Environmental Act. At present the government has taken a decision to not promotion of palm oil cultivation.

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has said that environmentalists as well as various experts have commented on the depletion of groundwater, damage to water sources and the adverse effects on certain wildlife, especially due to the palm oil cultivation. It has been revealed that a palm oil tree in particular needs about 400 liters of water per day.

Therefore, there is a risk of groundwater depletion due to palm oil cultivation. Palm oil currently supplies about 35 percent of the world’s vegetable oil needs. Palm oil is a good substitute for vegetable oil. Also, the area required for one ton of palm oil is less than the rest.

Accordingly, the Minister instructed to continue the measures taken not to promote the palm oil cultivation. The Minister also instructed the Central Environmental Authority to conduct further formal research on palm oil cultivation and the environmental damage caused by it.

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