December 22, 2009
Kerala Bans Palm Oil Imports To Protect Coconut Farmers
NEW DELHI, Dec 22 (Bernama) -- The Kerala state government has invoked a one-year ban on palm oil imports, primarily from Malaysia and Indonesia, via Cochin Port to protect coconut farmers' interests in the southern state.
Cochin Port Trust chairman N. Ramachandran said the ban had impacted cargo throughput at the state's premier port and port revenue.
"The state government slammed the ban as palm oil usage has led to lesser consumption of coconut oil, thus adversely affecting coconut peasants in the state," he told BERNAMA in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Pior to the ban, Ramachandran said some 100,000 to 200,000 metric tonnes of palm oil were brought in through Kochi Port.
Following the ban, the state government, controlled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), was losing tax revenue.
"Our board members will be meeting senior state government officials soon to discuss the ban. We're quite optimistic we can resolve this ban, but I'm not in a position to give a timeline now," he added.
It is believed that coconut industry lobbyists had pressured the state government to impose the ban to protect some two million coconut farmers in Kerala, one of the largest coconut producers in India.