Jul 12, 2017

Coconuts to be imported on a trial basis

Coconuts are to be imported to the country on a trial basis for processing as a way of tackling rising prices and a national shortage.

The government has given approval to import only one load of fresh coconuts at the time being and a final decision will be taken on the importation of fresh coconuts will be taken after consulting all stake holders.    

 Coconuts are a staple food for the island but agricultural experts were of the view that any imports would create a major risk of plant disease.

Faced with diminishing numbers and reduced quality of coconuts, the government decided to import the fresh nuts from India and Malaysia.

"In the past Sri Lanka was not only self-sufficient in coconuts –the country had exported it to the world for 750 years.

However a senior official said that no firm decision can be made on the matter because coconuts coming in to Sri Lanka would have to be quarantined.

Various coconut diseases were rife in producing countries including India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Some, known as wilt, turn the trees yellow and reduce the coconut count, he added.