Addressing the inaugural session of the ninth Parliament, the President announced that he would prohibit the cultivation of palm oil, among other measures to aid the plantations sector.
He presented his policy statement at the Parliament after ceremonially declaring the ninth Parliament opens on 20 August 2020.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
He said that the income from industries such as tea, coconut, and rubber is currently unsatisfactory.
“We will commence operations to develop tea plantations while assisting small and medium scale tea estate owners as well. Due to the shutting down of tea factories, tea estate owners have encountered a number of difficulties.
We will restart these factories and eliminate existing irregularities simultaneously encouraging the export of high-quality tea products.
We will reclaim the global brand name we held for Ceylon Tea.” he stated.
Accordingly, the planting of coconut saplings will be encouraged, and to enact a reasonable price for rubber, local rubber industrialists will be encouraged to utilize their own products.
He further stated that the cultivation of palm oil trees will be stopped completely.
Furthermore, the production of export crops, such as pepper and cinnamon, will be promoted, and opportunities to generate substantial foreign exchange will be provided to farmers through value addition to agricultural products and export measures.
My comment: Even before the election, the president made it clear what he thought of palm oil, and like the environmental groups that have also voiced concerns about the cultivation of oil palms, he resolutely said: No to palm oil. No deforestation for palm oil.
His brother, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, caused a worldwide sensation when he banned glyphosate.
Sri Lanka became the second country, after El Salvador, to completely ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides when glyphosate was shown to be responsible for the growing number of chronic kidney disease (CKDu) in Sri Lanka.
Studies in Sri Lanka have shown that not only is nature being destroyed, but also that the water table is falling due to the concentrated growth of palm oil.
Other studies done in Indonesia indicate that groundwater quality is also affected by the adverse effects of the fertilizer required to grow oil palms.
Deforestation for new palm oil plantations Indonesia
Surface temperatures in the region have risen- making them more susceptible to wildfires. They destroyed habitats that have led the Sumatran Orangutan to be listed as critically endangered.
Records also show signs of animal cruelty as Orangutans have been found buried alive or killed by guns and other weapons. It is estimated that should this large scale deforestation continue, we might very well have to say goodbye to the wild Sumatran Orangutan within the next 5-10 years and the Sumatran Tiger is less than 3 years.
This industry not only threatens environmental conservation purposes but animal welfare too.
It’s a very good decision!!
If some European prime ministers had the strong character of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, we would have come much further in nature and animal protection.
My best regards to all, Venus