Coconut growers in quandary due to low prices | Daily News

Coconut growers in quandary due to low prices

The Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka has pointed out that there is a decline in Farm-gate price of Coconuts owing to the import of crude edible oil despite the high yield and production locally, absence of price formulae to reflect the minimum cut off price for coconuts and the national level farm-gate price determined, based on weekly auction where participants are at dismal level.

A Media Statement released under the signature of CGASL Past President J V R Dias, said the intention was draw the attention of those concerned to the recommendation made by the Association to improve the situation.

The statement goes on reasoning out how the prevailing situation has come on stage.

According to the Association, the following have also contributed heavily in addition to what has been already mentioned above, affecting the current situation. They are: 1. Unregulated import of crude (unrefined and waste) palm olein and coconut oil purported to be under the TIEP scheme (it is suspected that such crude/waste oil after refining is released to the local market instead of being re-exported).

2. Sans SLS Standards, uncontrolled adulteration of pure coconut oil with other lower quality edible oils and marketed with fraudulent trade labeling subject to no verification y the Consumer Affairs Authority and Coconut Development Authority.

3. The sellers inability to guarantee the continuity of fresh coconuts for export arising from the ad hoc decisions to ban such exports have moved buyers away from the Sri Lankan market.

4. During 2017 and 2018, palm kernel have been imported without any ceiling on the quantity and quality. There are no SLS standards for monitoring the quality, the only quality check done by CRI) is Bacterial examination. No checks were made of the level of the maturity of the kernel due to the kernel being derived from nuts which were less than 11/12 months old as done in Sri Lanka.

5. It is alleged that the use of these sub quality kernel has led to the manufacture of substandard desiccated coconuts, coconut milk etc. and the worst is that these are mixed to adulterate the quality products manufactured local and exported as Sri Lanka produce, which over the years excelled in quality and fetched higher prices in the world market, which we have lost now.

The Association has made the following recommendations for its immediate implementation.

A. Permit export of fresh coconut without any service charge and any restriction or limitation. CDA to publish prominent advertisements in all media to this effect. In addition, the State owned plantations too should be granted permission to export fresh coconuts.

B. Temporary ban on import of edible oils whether it be crude/waste or refined.

C. Advertise and implement CDA certification for bottled packed and sealed pure virgin coconut oil with SLS Standard and ban loose sales of all edible oils.

D. Introduce incentives to establish virgin coconut oil mills using the latest internationally recognized technology in compliance with world industry standards (now commonly available with Indian equipment manufacturers at competitive prices) and the SLS standard.

E. Implement an awareness programme through the Ministry of Health to encourage the consumption of pure virgin coconut oil based on the health benefits and discourage the consumption of palm olein due to its ill effects on health.

F. Implement a regulatory mechanism to monitor and control the import of Palm Olein and other edible oils whether it be crude/waste or refined.

G. Introduce necessary regulation to prohibit mixing or pure virgin coconut oil with any other edible oils and marketing under fraudulent labeling.

H. Remove all quota systems imposed on production capacities of all kernel based coconut products. Permit new coconut kernel based industries to be established.

I. Improve vigilant supervision of all production facilities and exports to ensure strict hygienic and high quality standards are adhered.

J. Regulate and encourage the sellers and buyers of coconut to channel all their transactions via the weekly auction of coconuts.

K. Implement price formulae to reflect and minimum cut off price for coconuts at the weekly auction.

L. Formulate Policy Framework for the Coconut industry of Sri Lanka.


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