Local coconut oil industry will be developed – Trade Minister

Bandula Gunawardena

Measures will be taken to uplift local oil production and the coconut industry, minimizing the expenses for imports of palm oil, Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday (07).

An appeal should be made, stating the specific requirements, to the Secretary to the Finance Ministry to import palm oil as needed, Dr. Gunawardena also said. The Trade Minister made these observations in reply to a question raised by the government MP M. Muzzammil concerning the recent controversy related to coconut oil unsuitable for human consumption.

Dr. Gunawardena pointed out that from 2010 to 2014, 360 MN kilograms of milk powder have been imported and in 2015-2019, the amount of milk powder imported has increased to 460 MN Kg. Accordingly, Rs. 179,718 MN has been spent during 2010-2014 to import milk powder while Rs. 213,008 MN has been spent for the same during 2015-2019.

Minister Gunawardena observed that any global level research or testing can be done at the laboratory of Veterinary Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine in the University of Peradeniya. Any testing on milk powder or other food items can be carried out at this laboratory.

Minister Gunawardena also said that numerous measures have been taken to enhance local milk production.

(Source: Daily News – By Sandasen Marasinghe, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi)