Sri Lanka will import 39,000 tonnes of dehydrated coconut chips to manufacture coconut oil to meet the local demand for edible oil without any shortage to be triggered otherwise by the ban imposed on palm oil, an official said.

The Trade Ministry will sign a forward sales agreement with the All Ceylon Traditional Coconut Oil Producers’ Association to obtain coconut oil at Rs. 450 a bottle. The Association’s representatives informed this at a press conference along with Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane and State Minister for Co-operative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Lasantha Alagiyawanna.

According to the Association, 39,000 tonnes are sufficient for them to manufacture coconut oil at a competitive price of Rs. 450 a bottle. Dehydrated coconut chips will be imported under the supervision of the Coconut Development Authority through the state-run BCC Company.

Mr. Alagiyawanna thanked the coconut oil producers for raising the issue of imported edible oil unfit for human consumption. He said six containers of imported coconut oil containing Aflatoxin, a carcinogen, above permissible level, were re-exported yesterday. He said 125 samples of coconut oil were collected from the market and tested later to ascertain the level of Aflatoxin.

“We received the results of 109 samples. None of them is harmful. Therefore, there is no need for consumers to have unnecessary fear on the consumption of coconut oil purchased from the market,” he said.

The State Minister took swipe at the Opposition for what he said ‘whipping up public fear without any basis’.

“The Opposition tried to make political mileage out of this situation. They even cited the traditional new year ritual of oil anointing is harmful this time. The Opposition does not know that coconut oil is not used for the ritual. We use other herbal oil varieties for the oil anointing ritual,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)


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