Last week Reuters reported the extraordinary move by Sri Lanka, including the order to current producers, who were ordered to uproot existing plantations 'in a phased manner', with 10% uprooting at a time and replacing it with the cultivation of rubber or environmental friendly crops each year.”
Sri Lanka joins other nations and big manufacturers and retailers moving against the use of palm oil. Over the past few years, retailers like Selfridges, Iceland and Marks & Spencer in the UK have been calling possum on RSPO and palm oil generally. Countries are now joining the fray with France Germany, Italy, and Denmark instituting bans and the USA has stopped inbound shipments from some top producers in Malaysia on allegations of forced labour in the second-biggest grower, while the EU plans to phase out palm-based biofuels by classifying the commodity from large plantations as unsustainable.
While Sri Lanka's motivation isn't entirely clear, Bloomberg Green reports that palm oil imports and the number of plantations have been increasing in recent years in Sri Lanka, who are a leading producer of coconut oil. Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in a statement the aim was to “make the country free from oil palm plantation and palm oil consumption". Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, Head of trading and hedging strategies at Kaleesuwari Intercontinental said, “Sri Lanka is a top producer of coconut oil and palm oil could pose a threat to that sector.”
WHATEVER THE REASON, THE ANNOUNCEMENT IS EXCELLENT NEWS FOR ORANGUTANS, THE PLANET AND THE OTHER FLORA AND FAUNA WHO ARE OUSTED, UPROOTED AND FRANKLY, WELL, ROOTED BY DEFORESTATION.
Palm oil and its derivatives are one of the most used oils on the planet and its production has led to widespread deforestation and damage to ecosystems.
Sri Lanka currently imports around 200,000 tonnes of palm oil every year, mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia. Sri Lanka has around 11,000 hectares of palm plantations - just over 1% of the total area planted with tea, rubber and coconut, according to estimates from the country’s Palm Oil Industry Association.