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Citronella oil industry in crisis

The citronella oil industry in Hamnbantota district that was a big foreign exchange earner is facing a crisis now. A bottle of citronella oil that fetched Rs.7,500 in the recent past now fetches a only Rs.1,500.

Small-scale citronella growers and citronella oil industrialists said that about 700 kilograms of citronella leaves are necessary to distil about eight bottles of citronella oil.

According to a citronella oil distiller at Katuwana, a loan of Rs one lakh was disbursed to women who engage in the citronellas oil industry when a bottle of citronella oil fetched a price of Rs 7,500. These women are now indebted to banks and other lending institutions due to the crisis in the industry.