Spreading Fat

Sept 11, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lankan producers of vanaspati a vegetable oil, are trying to break into the domestic market and diversify exports after being stung by recent Indian import controls. There are about 12 local manufacturers of the hydrogenated palm oil and similar product bakery shortenings a vegetable fat used largely for industrial baking and cooking.

About 30,000 metric tonnes of bakery shortenings are currently imported from Malaysia and Indonesia, with all local production being exported to India under a free trade deal.

The Vanaspati Manufacturers Association of Sri Lanka has now sought cabinet approval to sell part of their goods locally.

“We have asked for permission to produce and sell 30,000 metric tonnes of only bakery shortenings and fats, not vanaspati, locally,” Sena Suriyapperuma, General Manager of oil manufacturer Pyramid Lanka, told LBO on Monday.

The industry is limiting its request to bakery shortenings as sales of vanaspati could run up against the domestic coconut oil industry.

Suriyapperuma also says that local manufacturers are looking at the possibility of exports of vanaspati to markets outside of India, like Bangladesh, Maldives