Sri Lanka coconut cultivators ask for freedom

July 07, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan coconut cultivators have demanded they be allowed to sell land on which growing coconuts has become unremunerative as nut prices have fallen. Coconut is an important part of the diet of Sri Lankans and the island’s crop is not enough to feed both industries as well as domestic consumers.

Politicians and some in the industry have taken away the economic freedom of growers out of an ideological belief that coconuts should continue to be grown in fast developing areas.

Analysts point out that coconut land is mostly ancestral land of people in the area coming down from their parents and their rights should not be taken away by politicians with centrist planning tendencies.

Blocking out land also becomes common in times of property bubbles, which are fired by central bank money printing.

Parakrama Jayatilleke, chairman of the Coconut Growers Association, said the low price of nuts and high costs, especially of fertilizer, had thrown cultivators who were mostly poor farmers, into great difficulty.

If coconut cultivators were not able to make a profit out of their small plots of coconut trees they should be allowed to sell the