Palm oil industry association launched to advocate sustainable growth in Sri Lanka

Sept 04, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Oil Palm industry has formally inaugurated an industry association under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to promote common interests and advocate ‘Sustainable Growth through Responsible Production.’

Representing cultivators of oil palm, and refiners, processors, manufacturers, marketers and sellers of palm oil and other products of the oil palm,the POIA has identified as one of its first tasks the need to work with government authorities and industry experts to address a recently-manifested campaign of misinformation targeting the industry.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Association, Plantations Minister Navin Dissanayake said the government is pursuing the policy decision to permit the cultivation of up to 20,000 Ha of oil palm in Sri Lanka and that he as the Minister in charge is committed to it, but stressed that policy guidelines on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), procedures and protocols would have to be developed when implementing the decision.

There is no doubt that it is a cash crop,” he said.

“Mr MahindaSamarasinghe, the Minister at the time, took the decision to plant up to 20,000 hectares of Palm Oil and I think that was a right decision.”

He also disclosed that the industry is working closely with a committee formed by the National Economic Council to address some of the strictures made by the Central Environment Authority (CEA) on the industry and urged the newly-formed association to use logic and reason to take on the naysayers and win the argument.

In his address, Aitken Spence Director Dr Rohan Fernando, elected the first President of the Palm Oil Industry Association said that in Sri Lanka, people sometimes oppose developments that are good for the country. Citing the examples of the accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme and the Kandalama Hotel.

The office bearers and members of the Executive Committee of the Palm Oil Industry Association comprise of Dr Rohan Fernando (President), Messrs Vish Govindasamy and Sajjad Mawzoon (Vice Presidents), Oshadhi Kodisinghe(Secretary), Mr Ravi Jayatilleke(Treasurer) and Messrs Gayan Samarakone, Bhathiya Bulumulla, Lalith Obeyesekere, Thishan Karunasena, Manjula Narayana,Manoj Udugampola and Binesh Pananwala.