Connect with us

Business

Plantation companies to lose Rs 500 mn. due to govt. vacillation on oil palm

Published

on

Plantation companies will sustain a cumulative loss of more than Rs 500 million within months due to policy inconsistencies and vacillation by the government on a well-regulated expansion of Sri Lanka’s oil palm cultivation, the sector’s apex industry association has warned.

The Palm Oil Industry Association (POIA) said 356,000 oil palm plants imported on the strength of a government decision to expand cultivation have been maturing in nurseries for more than three years, due to the government’s failure to address concerns arising from falsehoods and disinformation spread by misled activists and lobbyists with vested interests.

“About 40 per cent of these trees may already be unviable and we fear that the entire stock may have to be destroyed within the next two months, unless the government resolves this matter expeditiously,” POIA President Dr Rohan Fernando said.

The Palm Oil Industry Association represents cultivators as well as refiners, processors, manufacturers, marketers and sellers of palm oil and other products of the oil palm, who have cumulatively invested Rs 26 billion in the industry.

Sri Lanka has less than 11,000 hectares under oil palm – just over one per cent of the extents under tea, rubber and coconut – and plantation companies had been mandated to increase the total area under oil palm to 20,000 hectares under strictly-enforced guidelines that ensure the industry is environmentally non-invasive, before the government back-pedalled on the plan.

Fernando said the industry’s appeal to the government for permission to plant whatever viable trees are left in the nurseries, would enable the plantation companies to reduce the losses they are faced with and help increase local production of palm oil at a time when imports are being restricted to conserve foreign exchange. He said even if the entire stock of trees had been planted, the country’s extent under oil palm would only have increased by about 2,750 hectares.

“We are also aware that the government is looking at expanding coconut cultivation to which we have absolutely no objection, but experts have calculated that it would take at least 20 years to reach a point where the country’s edible oil requirements can be met by locally-grown coconut,” Fernando said. “There is also concern that coconut oil production is more costly and requires more land than oil palm.”

He pointed out that baseless vilification of the local palm oil industry had resulted in the country producing just 23,000 tonnes of palm oil per annum and the import of a staggering 220,000 tonnes of crude palm oil into the country each year, at a cost of approximately Rs 22 billion.

The government decision to encourage cultivation of oil palm and to increase the country’s extent under the crop to 20,000 hectares was backed by comprehensive conditions and guidelines that would ensure there will be no environmental degradation, no deforestation and no replacement of other viable crops, Fernando added.

However, lobbyists had used the haphazard, unregulated and rapacious early expansion of oil palm cultivation in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia to create a baseless fear psychosis about the industry, disregarding the fact that Sri Lanka has cultivated less than 11,000 hectares in 50 years.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

A ‘phygital’ experience at HSBC Premier Centre in Pelawatte

Published

on

With the demographic equation changing and the mass affluent customers now also choosing to live in the suburbs, HSBC is gearing its branches of the periphery of the city to service customers in this segment.

Pelawatte has become the latest HSBC branch to be upgraded to be an exclusive Premier Banking Centre to meet the growing demand of the affluent population in the residential hub of the Colombo metro region.

The newly refurbished Premier Centre was declared open by Mark Prothero, CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives. Also present was Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, together with senior management and staff.

Nadeesha Senaratne, said, “HSBC has established a long history of 128 years in Sri Lanka, and in the past few years we have seen the value of strategically expanding to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

HSBC’s Pelawatte branch was opened in 1998 and is conveniently located at no 418B Battaramulla – Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla which currently serves a diverse portfolio of retail banking customers. With the new improvements undertaken, HSBC hopes to provide customers with an inclusive banking service, and attract potential new customers with its Premier banking proposition and worldwide banking service, within the expanding residential neighborhood.

The Premier Centre in Pelawatte models HSBC’s flagship Premier Centre located in Flower road- Colombo 7, with an expansive ‘open’ space concept for casual open dialog with customers. The space has been optimized to enhance the customer experience by providing a ‘phygital’ banking experience with private meeting rooms specially designed to give customers an exclusive banking service with the assistance of a dedicated Relationship Manager. It also features video conferencing facility, which enables customers to connect with their Premier RM’s internationally, while enjoying the highest standards of privacy. Customers can walk out of the branch with the ‘Bank in their pocket’ by opening an account in less than an hour and begin transacting digitally, almost instantly.

(HSBC)

Continue Reading

Business

SLT & Mobitel successfully conclude digitization of Lankagama Village

Published

on

Fulfilling its role as the nation’s pioneer in Telecommunication Services, the SLT Group successfully completed the President’s directive of providing high-speed connectivity solutions to the Lankagama Village recently.

An event was held to mark this proud achievement on 20th September 2020 in the presence of Oshada Senanayake – Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Lalith Seneviratne – Group CEO of SLT & Mobitel, Kiththi Perera- Chief Executive Officer of SLT, M.B.P. Fernandez – Chief Operations Officer of SLT, Prabath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer of SLT, Sudarshana Geeganage – Chief Financial Officer of Mobitel, Shashika Senerath – Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Rasantha Hettithanthrige – Senior General Manager, Engineering & Operations at Mobitel along with SLT & Mobitel technology partners Huawei, ZTE and the community.

The SLT Group provided high-speed 4G/LTE broadband and enhanced voice services within record-time despite the fact that the Lankagama Village is located at the southern boundary of the Sinharaja Rain Forest, in the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat, Galle District; posing severe logistical challenges. Further, the SLT Group also offered SMART classroom solutions consisting of tabs, laptops and school supplies including stationery thereby opening up a world of possibilities for the students in the remote village. (SLT)

Continue Reading

Business

Local tyre manufacturers say ‘no need’ to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres

Published

on

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Local tyre manufacturers request the government not to import motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres as they have the capacity to supply locally produced premium quality tyres for the segment, without leaving room for any supply shortage in the market.

“We have the combination of quality and technology to meet the demand in the market”, a leading local tyre manufacturer said.

“We have the capacity to meet the local demand for motorcycle and three wheeler tyres and we are already supplying the products to the market, fully meeting its demand,” they said.

“In 2019, Rs. 1,062 million worth motorcycle and three-wheeler tyres and tubes were imported to the country. This means we are able to save Rs. 1,062 million in foreign exchange this year by producing all of these locally”, they pointed out.

“We produce sufficient quantities of high-demand tyres for the local market without any supply shortage. We are supportive of the government’s drive to encourage Sri Lankan companies to manufacture goods that can be manufactured in Sri Lanka. We request the continued support of the government to keep our efforts up in this direction,” they said.”Only a few types of tyres of special sizes are not produced locally. Those products are imported in small numbers. There is lesser demand for these tyres as they are not widely used”, they said.

“Apart from establishing ourselves in the local market, we are in the process of further improving our production capacity to boost our current export volumes. As a result of it, we will be able to create new jobs for thousands of Sri Lankans”. they said.

Continue Reading

Trending