Colombo, April 9 (Daily News) – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided on a complete ban on palm oil imports because it is harmful for public health, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a press statement yesterday.
“Medical and food specialists have frequently pointed out that consuming food processed using crude palm oil is a main cause for illnesses. However, palm oil varieties with accepted standards are used to manufacture biscuits, sweet snacks and bread.
Palm oil variety referred to as ‘Palm Stearin’ bearing the Harmonized Code 1511.90.10 or is one such variety. There is no prohibition to import this variety used for the production of various supplementary food,” the press release stated.
“The incumbent Government banned ethanol imports, but permission was given to import ethanol for clinical needs. The permission to import ‘Palm Stearin’ is similar to that,” the PMD said.
“It has been established through research that the palm cultivation leads to long term negative impacts on environment such as drying out of water retention areas and soil infertility. The President instructed the authorities about six months ago to gradually stop palm cultivation. It has been decided to gradually replace already cultivated palm trees with rubber or some other environment friendly cultivation,” the PMD release added.