Former minister Ravi Karunanayake has said that a ban on the cultivation of palm oil will be lifted and developed as an export crop.

He met palm oil growers at Baduraliya in Matugama to look into their problems on 10 December, and then spoke to the media.

Karunanayake was told by the growers that they were facing economic hardships due to the ban imposed during the presidency of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

They noted that a much higher net income of Rs. 75,000 per acre, when compared with tea and rubber, could be earned from palm oil if they are allowed to grow it in lands of their own and of the state.

Sri Lanka could take an example from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia that grow palm oil as a major export crop, they noted.

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Speaking here, Karunanayake said permission would be granted to grow palm oil in consultation with the experts.

Growers asked him to talk to the president and get the ban lifted by next month.

The former finance minister assured that it would be encouraged as a commercial crop with government involvement.

Former Panadura mayor Nandana Gunatilake and ex-minister Achala Suranga Jagoda accompanied Karunanayake on the observation visit.

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