Apr 08, Colombo: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to ban the importation of palm oil with immediate effect as the consumption of imported palm oil is detrimental to public health, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.
Medical and nutrition experts have repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of foods processed using unrefined palm oil is a major disease causative agent.
However, standardized palm oil varieties are used in the manufacture of biscuits, confectionery and some breads. Harmonized System Code 15119099 - liquid Palm oil, commonly known as Palm Stearin is such a variety and there is no impediment to the importation of this variety for use in the production of supplementary foods items.
After the current government came to power, the importation of ethanol, which had been severely criticized earlier, was stopped completely. But ethanol is allowed to be imported for clinical purposes. The same goes for the permission to import Palm Stearin.
Research has long confirmed that that oil palm (Katupol) cultivation has long-term adverse environmental effects, such as depletion of water sources and soil infertility.
Therefore, after the current government came to power, about six months ago, the President instructed to gradually stop the cultivation of katupol.
The existing Katupol cultivation is planned to be phased out at a rate of 10% at a time and rubber or other eco-friendly cultivations are planned on those lands.