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Vidya Jyothi Gemunu Silva: The Ancient and Modern man



By Capt G.A.Fernando,

(RCyAF, Air Ceylon, Air Lanka, Singapore Airlines, and SriLankan Airlines)

In April, 1971, not long after the JVP Insurgency started, I was amongst a large crowd of young men, gathered at the Government Services Grounds, on Parsons Road, Colombo, jostling with each other, as we waited to volunteer our services to the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF).

While waiting for our names to be called, we heard an officer yell out, “Stand back all of you, except for this boy [he said pointing at me], or I am going to shoot!” The voice belonged to Squadron Leader Rex Fernando, Commanding Officer Designate of the Volunteer Air Force Reserve. Not surprisingly, his order and threat had the desired effect, and everyone promptly stood back to give him ‘breathing space’.

My name was the first to be called. The next was that of Gemunu Silva. As we were the first two, Gemunu and I had time to sit and get to know each other. His first question to me was, “Are you a pilot?” When I said yes, he said that he was a Mechanical Engineer at the State Engineering Corporation (SEC), and that he had a Student Pilot’s Licence, although it had been “destroyed” by his mother who didn’t want him to fly! Thus began a friendship between us which lasted over 50 years, until his untimely demise on 2nd July, 2021.

 After recruitment, we went our separate ways. Gemunu to Diyatalawa, and I was posted to China Bay for flight and ground training. A few months later, we met again at Diyatalawa for our passing-out parade, and were subsequently posted, together, at China Bay.

 Many interesting hours were then spent at the Officers’ Mess bar, ‘shooting the breeze’ into the ‘wee small hours’ (unless I was scheduled to fly early the next day). Gemunu’s repertoire of both classical Sinhala and English songs, including some he’d learned during his ‘Varsity days, was incredible. He had a good singing voice, and his mannerisms were unique, too. Often, if he had a memory lapse, he would hit his hand on his receding forehead and exclaim, “Bloody curse!”

Gemunu was also widely read and could speak and hold the floor on any subject. I remember him telling me to hold on to my mechanical lever-motion wrist-watch because the new-fangled electronic digital watches, then in great demand, would soon be “a dime a dozen”.

Although not a qualified pilot as such, Gemunu’s passion for aviation burned strongly, so he never missed a chance to go flying with us. Even if it was to check the brakes of an aircraft that never left the ground! The process of speaking with the Air Traffic Control tower, starting up and taxiing out, would make his day.

In those days, TV had yet to arrive in Ceylon (as Sri Lanka then was), so, as movie buffs, we used our Air Force IDs to get us concessions at local cinemas. While in Colombo, on short breaks from China Bay, we would go from cinema to cinema, watching one movie after another, starting at the Savoy Cinema, Wellawatte, at 10.30 am, Majestic, in Bambalapitiya, for the 3.30 pm show, then the Liberty Cinema, at 6.30 pm, and finally the Empire (Slave Island) or Regal Cinema (Fort) for the late 9.30 pm show.

After I was demobilised and joined Air Ceylon, Gemunu continued to serve the RCyAF (which became the Sri Lanka Air Force, in 1972) as a Volunteer. But he and I kept in contact and ‘touched base’ off and on. He married his cousin and childhood sweetheart Swineetha. Because he was still with the Air Force, they had planned a ‘service wedding’. But, by the afternoon, before his wedding day, he still hadn’t engaged a band to play at the event. So, at the eleventh hour, I turned for assistance to Gamini ‘Gabo’ Peiris, drummer and leader of the popular band ‘Gabo and The Breakaways’, who in his ‘other job’ as a flight steward with Air Ceylon was by then a colleague of mine.

But when Gemunu and I arrived at Gabo’s home we learned that he and the band were ‘on holiday’. Wondering what to do next (I think I was more worried than Gemunu), while our bus was passing the Liberty cinema, Gemunu suggested that we should go watch a movie (which happened to be On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). Of course, by the time the movie ended, at 5.30 pm, we still hadn’t found a band to play at the next day’s wedding.

That was when I suddenly remembered my former neighbour and friend and Scout master from school, Nihal ‘Sam the Man’ Samarasinghe, another famous musician and bandleader in those days. Fortunately, after he made a few calls, Sam was able to find another upcoming band to play at short notice and thus saved Gemunu’s day. This episode was typical of Gemunu who took everything ‘on the bump’.

A few months later, the SLAF selected Gemunu Silva to study for an M.Sc. in Toulouse, the home of Airbus Industrie (as the company was then known) in the South of France. There he helped work out the algorithms for ‘fly-by-wire’ (FBW) aircraft. From what I’ve heard, it was a military project to which he was assigned, with the use of what was then the only hybrid computer in France. The research material thus gained was subsequently used in French fighter aircraft and, later still, the state-of-the-art Airbus A320 passenger airliner.

When Air Lanka was founded in 1979, Gemunu, now back in Sri Lanka, signed as one of the guarantors for my Boeing 707 training bond. Subsequently, I introduced him to the airline’s ‘flying Chairman’, Capt. S Rakkitha Wikramanayake, who was looking for aircraft maintenance engineers, but felt that Gemunu was “over-qualified”. To Gemunu’s credit, however, while in the SLAF he modified a fuel pump for the MiG-15 and 17 aircraft which prevented deterioration and fire in the engine after an inflight failure. He held the patent for that modification.

After Gemunu was finally ‘demobbed’ from the SLAF, he returned to the SEC where he would become the General Manager and, later still, Chairman (a post once held by the legendary engineer Dr. Deshabandu A.N.S. Kulasinghe). One of Gemunu’s many engineering accomplishments was changing the camber of the New Kelaniya Bridge, while traffic was on the move.

A long association with the Archaeological Department began when Gemunu Silva facilitated the use of a SLAF helicopter to place the crystal on the pinnacle of the Mihintale stupa which was being renovated by Dr Roland Silva, the Director of Archaeology, and his team.

Then the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa), in Kandy, began experiencing a problem. Monkeys, from the nearby Udawattakele Forest Reserve, used to play on the existing old roof and caused tiles to be shifted. When it rained, numerous leaks began, putting the Tooth Relic at risk. The solution was to build a canopy with gold-plated tiles, imported from Japan, over the existing temple roof. President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s ‘Sevana’ Foundation had promised to foot the bill in exchange for the honour of officially opening the finished project.

Amid objections to the modification from the Archaeological Department, the task was assigned to the SEC and Gemunu got involved. After the new canopy was built and the opening day drew near, it was discovered that the new structure was not steady and subject to swaying. One day, while wondering what to do about it, Gemunu discovered that there were a couple of holes, used as nests by resident pigeons, at the same level in the building adjacent to the golden roof. On investigation, he observed that there were metal beams inside the holes. So the canopy was duly welded to the beams, for additional support, and that stopped the swaying.

Then, there was the Maligawila Buddha Statue, in the Moneragala District. Carved out of limestone, with the head alone weighing some 50 tons, it was the tallest free-standing statue of its kind in Sri Lanka, and discovered in pieces in 1951 (presumably destroyed by treasure hunters). The project to restore it was abandoned by then SEC Chairman, Dr. Kulasinghe, in the mid-1970s. The challenge was subsequently taken up by Gemunu Silva in 1991, much to the satisfaction of President Premadasa.

Gemunu later mentioned that it was Dr Kulasinghe’s mentoring and guidance that gave him the confidence to embark on the project. And speaking of President Premadasa, when a colleague once asked Gemunu how he managed to get so close to the President, he replied that he didn’t get close to the President but the President got close to him!

When writing, or speaking of the late Gemunu Silva, it should not be forgotten that when the SLAF wanted to base their jet aircraft at the Sigiriya airport, and the Government followed up by proposing to build the next international airport there, Gemunu was involved with Dr Roland Silva, then Director General of the Central Cultural Fund, trying to stabilise the Rock, which was already chipping away, to prevent further damage from vibrations. So they appealed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga saying that jet operations at Sigiriya were not conducive to the future stability of the Sigiriya archaeological ‘treasure’. One option offered was to find another suitable site, so an RCyAF helicopter was assigned to the pair for two weeks in order to complete their survey. They found an ideal alternative within the Cultural Triangle on ‘crown land’ with no complications of land acquisition. But when a report was submitted, it never saw the light of day again!

In 1993, Gemunu became the youngest Vidya Jyothi awardee (for outstanding scientific and technological achievements) among greats like Geoffrey Bawa, Prof. E.O.E. Pereira, Prof. A.W. Mailvaganam, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Dr. A.N.S. Kulasinghe and Dr. Ray Wijewardene. Gemunu remained the consultant engineer for the restoration of ancient stupas, such as the Jetavanarama, Abhayagiri, Mirisawetiya and Tissamaharama dagobas. Typical of the man’s ingenuity, all his mechanical restoration solutions were reversible.

After LTTE suicide bombers attacked the Dalada Maligawa, in 1998, Gemunu Silva participated in the repairs and renovation. He was also the Chairman of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) at one time. Gemunu worked at world heritage centres in Lumbini, Nepal and Bodh Gaya, India, and in 2013 he received the Engineering Heritage Award from the Institute of Engineers. This year Gemunu also became the first recipient of the Dr. Roland Silva Memorial Medal.

Gemunu always said that the best engineers were the ‘baases’ he worked with. As he (non-academically qualified but practically skilled senior workmen and artisans) told it, there was nothing a good chat and cup of plain tea and a cigarette couldn’t solve.

Of Gemunu, one could truly say he was “a man who walked with kings, and didn’t lose the common touch.”

To me, Gemunu was more a brother than a friend. I am glad that I was able to take him on a joy flight in a light aircraft about two years ago. Although his health was deteriorating, he was always in good spirits. The last time I spoke to him was to ask how the Ministry of Defence acquired the Akuregoda land on which the World War 2 Talangama transmitters were originally sited and then owned by the Department of Civil Aviation, only to be ‘handed over’ to the UDA.

Farewell my brother, may you achieve the supreme bliss of Nirvana!

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Demystifying Buddhism: Need of the hour?



by Dr Upul Wijayawardhana

Mystification is undoubtedly one of the most effective techniques adopted by all religions to ensure that their followers toe the line. After all, who wants to go against religion and face eternal damnation? However, the world has moved on since the inception of all religions and now even scientists agree that there is nothing permanent; not even the universe! By the way, impermanence as a key concept was introduced by the Buddha more than two and half millennia ago. At the moment there is global concern over yet another creation of the human mind: Artificial Intelligence!

Some industry leaders are warning that AI would wipe out humanity, joining nuclear war and pandemics which are the leading contenders to do the same. Geoffrey Hinton, so-called ‘Godfather of AI’ resigned from his job at Google stating that the tools he helped create may be used to end civilisation. AI language tools such as ChatGPT are already being used by students to cheat but would someone go a step further and use similar tools to weaponise ‘fake news’ or develop deadly chemical weapons? One can argue that religion can play an important moderating role in preventing such things happening but, on the other hand, it could be questioned whether they can do so if religions are removed from reality by mysticism?

Perhaps, all religions need demystification but I shall confine myself to Buddhism as it is the only religion I know a bit about. Further, I fear any criticism of other religions may earn me the reputation of someone attempting to promote religious discord. We live in a world, which is becoming increasingly intolerant of free speech whilst clamouring for the same! Oxford Union, once the bastion of free speech, nearly stopped Philosophy professor Kathleen Stock from expressing her view that trans women were not women.

Having failed to cancel the event, transgender activists attempted to sabotage her presentation. Interestingly, they did not attempt to challenge her views instead, perhaps because they are bereft of facts! Though we Buddhists do not do so often, the Buddha gave us the freedom of thought and promulgated the Dhamma by means of discussion. The Buddha was in search of the nature of reality and it perplexes me why and how the religion built around those teachings is full of mysticism. Though it may have served some purpose in the past, my contention is that the time is ripe for demystification.

The month of Poson is of special significance to us, Sri Lankan Buddhists, as according to ancient chronicles Buddhism was formally introduced, on the full moon day of this month 2270 years ago by Arahant Mahinda who was the son and emissary of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. Though it is very likely that Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka from India much earlier, Arahant Mahinda’s visit resulted in the embracing of Buddhism by King Devanampiyatissa and Sri Lanka becoming a Buddhist country, officially. Arahant Mahinda established Bhikkhu Sasana and as there was a clamour to establish Bhikkhuni Sasana, his sister Sanghamitta followed six months later, carrying with her a sapling of the Bodhi tree, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The famous writer H G Wells in the chapter, “The Rise and Spread of Buddhism” in his 1920 book “The Outline of History” refers to this as follows:

“In Ceylon there grows to this day a tree, the oldest historical tree in the world, which we know certainly to have been planted as a cutting from the Bodhi-Tree in the year 245 BC. From that time to this it has been carefully tended and watered.”

Whilst Sanghamitta story tells us that she travelled by land and sea, landing in Jaffna, Arhant Mahinda, who came to Sri Lanka with seven others, including two close relatives; Sumana Samanera, the son of Sanghamitta and Bhanduka Upasaka, the son of his maternal aunt’s daughter, is supposed to have arrived by supernatural means. Is this another instance of mystification! Even if one assumes that Arahants had developed the supernatural power of teleportation, it does not explain how a samanera and upasaka travelled, as an Arahant is not likely to have the ability tag along another person in teleportation.

In fact, Arahant Mahinda’s visit was a much-planned visit and was postponed till the death of King Mutasiva as it was felt that the aging king would not be able to grasp the complex concepts of Buddhism. This makes it very likely that the dramatic meeting described in ancient texts is nothing but a mystification. Anyway, how Arahant Mahinda arrived with others does not matter. What is important is that there is plenty of archaeological evidence to prove that both Arahants Mahinda and Sanghamitta lived in Sri Lanka till their deaths, serving our ancestors. Therefore, they deserved to be remembered on Poson and Unduvap Poya Days, respectively.

The Buddha showed us the way to overcome the sense of dissatisfaction that pervades all aspects of life and also the power of the mind. He showed us the way we could develop our mind and introduced the concept of mindfulness. He showed the path for ultimate detachment. What happened subsequently was converting this Dhamma to a religion by enveloping it in rituals and mysticisms; very practices denounced by the Buddha.

Instead of accepting the Buddha as a normal human being but with an exceptional intellect, he was made supernatural by mystifying his life. He walked immediately after his birth and said it was his last birth. This is mysticism mixed with predetermination but what follows is the truth. In spite of all the luxuries, with increasing dissatisfaction with life, Prince Siddhartha leaves lay life in search of the underlying cause of dissatisfaction. He experiments with extreme torture to the body, a method very popular among sages at the time, which he finds of no use and discovers the Middle Path, the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Buddha walked the length and breadth of India barefoot, washing his feet himself, when he entered a house. This message of simple living dedicated to the service of others is distorted and some of the Sangha today live in the lap of luxury and indulge in every activity the Buddha advised them against.

The Buddha’s Dhamma explains a path to tread on, and studying how he explored the mind to arrive at this itself gives so much academic satisfaction. Teaching this would ennoble our youth but what is often heard in Bana preachings or lectures are mystical stories or gross distortions, the best example being Dana: giving is a means to getting rid of attachment but is portrayed as a means of guaranteed returns thus increasing greed. I can go on and on.

If Buddhism is to survive, we need to understand and practise what the Buddha taught. The first step in this process is demystifying it so that we may understand the true nature of things.

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Artificial intelligence and reality of life



by Dr D. Chandraratna

Ever since President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced his desire to use Artificial intelligence (AI) to develop all sectors, from banking to agriculture, in Sri Lanka several correspondents have enthusiastically endorsed those sentiments in the print media. There is no gainsaying that technology has already made huge inroads into our lives, the latest paradigm adopted and articulated by the developed countries is thrust upon all mankind as the harbinger of a beautiful new world. Just as in an earlier time when the liberative potential of science created an understandable anguish about its misuse, similar forebodings are felt about the future curated by the super machines. Though unlike in the earlier debates where the misuse was calculated in terms of unlikely human catastrophes the current anguish is more about its ever -present transformative potential of the human world.

Most of the developed countries in the Western world, and Australia have launched statutory guidelines in the ethical use of AI. The Chat GPT, it has been cautioned in some quarters, poses such a risk to humanity that it must be subject to stringent regulation as nuclear power. Open AI founder Sam Altman has said that within a decade AI system would be capable of exceeding human expert skill levels in every domain. Given its possibility to be powerful than all other technologies experts predict that AI poses an existential risk like nuclear energy and synthetic biology. Silicon Valley experts are talking the need for a global regulatory body like the international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In the field of education, it risks accuracy and reliability of knowledge, the sources of information, academic integrity, student learning capabilities ending up with a humanity’s self-perception. Six months after Open AI launched ChatGPT, Australian University teachers have stated that they are unable to prove students who cheat with AI because still there is no regulatory body. At a conference held in Sydney last week Senior academics have railed against AI as ‘a tool in education’ because of ethical concerns, built in biases, fake knowledge and hate speech. AI is also generating enormous wealth through education in the hands of a few white male billionaires who are living off surplus value created mostly by brown and black workers.

One Deakin University academic has said it is only a data exchange service and an academic from Macquarie University said that ChatGPT app could easily be used by weak students to obtain enough marks to pass examination. Teachers may have to use open assessments and other examination methods to evaluate students. Students may be tempted to undermine their own desire to acquire knowledge in preference to the attraction of credentials to further their career prospects. Given the fact there is in the developed world a phenomenon of ‘degree inflation’ the quality and value of higher education will diminish. If cheating with the help of AI increases one’s chances of gaining the credentials thereby reducing the lure of understanding many students will not scruple to do so.

It is also the case that AI has the potential to make many employment opportunities ‘surplus to requirements’ in the knowledge economy for AI is efficient and cost cutting. Data analytic employment in multiple industry sectors will vanish overnight. Because of the fears of ChatGPT share prices of many education organisations have plummeted overnight. With the announcement of the ChatGPT, US company Chegg, which produces homework study guides, lost heavily on the stock market with more than half its workforce facing retrenchment.

There are other dangers. The value of education as character building, knowing yourself, examining one’s life, becoming wise, which are the wider objectives of education lose their appeal. Education is reduced to a process of credentialising to make us employable. AI is driven by a few mega corporations whose commercial motives are not aligned with the wider purposes of education beyond the why and the how. Education in the AI era will be concentrating on skills for employability. It can change the current paradigm of education. AI has the potential to cultivate a narcissistic and misguided anti-intellectualism which can shut out reasoned debate on public issues.

This existential threat to our sense of personal autonomy and human agency cannot be ignored. We must legislate to protect those aspects of humanity that are exclusively human and vitally important to the functioning of democratic communities. We should be alert to the fact that AI cannot replace nuance. It is soulless, cannot feel pain or loss, has no heart and no intuition. AI like all replacements to the original will disappoint us at the crucial hour for it cannot replace years of experience, innate ability, and intuitive wisdom.

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Palm oil growers await green light for sustainable production



A young oil palm plantation having a thick legume cover crop

By Emeritus Prof. Asoka Nugawela

Palm oil is a versatile commodity. It is used in numerous products world over. The global usage in 2022/23 is estimated as 76 million metric tons. Accordingly, the average global per capita usage is in the range of 10 kg per annum. Sri Lanka too recorded similar usage during 2018/2019 period, prior to economic downturn in the country. Palm oil usage is very much higher than the usage of other vegetable oils such as coconut, soya, canola, sunflower, rape seed and olive. One major reason for the relatively high per capita usage of palm oil is the affordability to purchase and its availability. Per unit land area, the oil production is four times greater in oil palm when compared with coconut. When comparing with other crops grown for vegetable oil production it is about tenfold higher. Further, oil palm, coconut and olive are perennial crops whereas soya, sunflower, canola and rape seed are short term crops. With short term crops the capital cost component is relatively high with yearly land clearing, land preparation and planting activities to be undertaken. Oil palm with a high oil yield and having a 30-year economic life cycle has the ability to provide a relatively cheaper vegetable oil than from other crops. With perennial crops the disturbance to the soil properties and biodiversity is less than in annuals and is a positive attribute as far as sustainability is concerned.

One other reason for palm oil to be the preferred vegetable oil is because it contains both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in almost equal proportions. Thus, it is different from coconut and other vegetable oils which contain a relatively high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids, around 90%. Palm oil with its 1:1 balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids is the preferred choice for many applications in the food industry.

Both the type and the number of fatty acids of fat in our diets are known to influence health and wellbeing. The present global advice is to increase the consumption of unsaturated fatty acids at the expense of saturated oils and fats. For optimal health we require a mixture of fatty acids to be present in our diet. In this context among the sources of dietary oils and fats palm oil could be viewed as a relatively better option for its ‘mixed’ fatty acid profile (saturated, mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids).

The relative advantage in the return on investment the oil palm crop is having over other plantations crops also drives the investments towards this crop. This is true for both plantation and smallholder sectors in major palm oil producing countries in the world. The profitability from different plantation crops grown in Sri Lanka under average management conditions and current agrochemical/material costs & trading conditions are summarised in Table 1. Accordingly, oil palm is by far the most profitable plantation crop in the country. (See table)

The country has a demand for palm oil as a cooking oil and also as a raw material for many other industries. The products made in these industries are essential and widely used. For vigorous growth and high yields oil palm crop should ideally be grown under tropical climatic conditions with more than 2,500 mm of rainfall per annum. The low country wet zone of the country is blessed with such climatic conditions. The return on investment is high with this crop. However, even under such a favorable business environment for this industry, the government of Sri Lanka has taken a decision to ban cultivating this crop in the country. All other palm oil producing countries in the world, i.e., more than 20, are surprised and view this as a wrong decision.

Some repercussions of this decision to ban oil palm cultivation in Sri Lanka are a). dependency on other countries to fulfill our vegetable oil need, b). loss of foreign exchange to the country by importing palm oil, c). loss of income to the potential investors, d). loss of employment opportunities and e). depriving potential smallholders, the opportunity to enhance their livelihood. Prior to the economic crisis in this country, around 200,000 MT of crude palm oil (CPO) had been imported annually. The current global market price of a metric ton of crude palm oil is around 900 US$. Thus, the foreign exchange requirement to import national crude palm oil requirement will be more than 180 million US$ per annum without freight and insurance costs.

In the past, forests have been felled to cultivate oil palm in some major palm oil producing countries. The same approach was adopted for planting other plantation crops as well in the past. Deforestation will invariably lead to further shrinking of already depleted forest cover and loss of environmental services we accrue from natural forests. Natural forests significantly contribute to depleting of greenhouses gases, to the natural water cycle and protects biodiversity, soil, catchment areas, rivers and water bodies. Due to serious negative impacts of deforestation on the environment, a worldwide lobby demanding countries to grow oil palm in a more sustainable manner was initiated. With this lobby changes are now taking place in the manner in which land is selected to grow oil palm. For most crops including oil palm, systems to certify sustainable plantation management have evolved and such certification has become a requirement for marketing of produce from plantations. Basically, issues related to cultivating oil palm had been identified, awareness created amongst parties concerned and interventions for rectification have been put in place. In Sri Lanka however, to start with there was no issue of deforestation associated with oil palm cultivation. The land for cultivating oil palm in Sri Lanka was obtained through crop diversification, a scientifically accepted approach. Even then cultivating of oil palm in Sri Lanka was suddenly banned by the government incurring the investors a loss of more than Rs. 500 million on nursery plants alone. The global lobby was against felling forests to plant oil palm. The reasons for the anti-oil palm lobby in Sri Lanka according to some environmentalists, scientists and politicians are negative impacts to the environment, loss of biodiversity, depleting soil water and threat to the existence of other plantation crops. There is no scientific basis for such allegations. But those who lobby against planting oil palm do not want to understand the difference between ecological impacts when planting oil palm subsequent to felling natural forest cover and as a crop diversification program. Various attempts made had been futile and as the Sinhala saying goes it’s like trying to wake up a person who pretends to be sleeping.

The necessity for a country to produce its own needs is more than evident now with the economic crisis the country is facing currently. With a huge disparity in outflow and inflow of foreign exchange to the country the need to produce our own requirements are very much obvious. As explained earlier in this article Sri Lanka has a conducive business environment for a successful palm oil industry. What is lacking to drive the industry forward in the country is the political will. Politicians may be fearing that a decision to lift the ban on oil palm cultivation will not be a popular decision affecting their vote base. Countries economy is currently shrinking leading significant losses in employment, falling income levels, increased inequality and government borrowings. To recover from such an economic crisis the country should not ignore viable industries that could enhance national production. A reversal to the decision to ban oil palm cultivation will lead to producing national requirement preventing the outflow of millions of dollars each year. Revenue moving out will circulate among all stakeholders of the industry helping to enhance their livelihood and strengthening the economy of the country.

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