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‘Politicians involved in NWP coconut land fragmentation’

All Island Farmers' Federation Chairman Namal Karunaratna addressing the meeting, while others look on. Picture by A. A. L. DIAS, Matale District Group Corr.

Some top-level politicians are involved in the fragmentation of coconut lands in the North Western Province (NWP). The blocking out and sale of such lands is currently making rapid progress and they have directly influenced the existing shortage of coconuts in the country, All Island Farmers' Federation Chairman and Provincial Councillor Namal Karunarathna said.

He was addressing a media briefing at the Dambulla Yapagama Siyapatha Hotel complex on Wednesday (21).

The country's coconut cultivation is currently declining due to the said issue, which has become a lucrative business at present. However, President Maithripala Sirisena had promised to ban the blocking out and sale of coconut lands.

Karunaratna added that the extent of the country's coconut lands has reduced by 5.4 percent from 1982 to 2002. Hence, if it were to continue further, Sri Lanka's entire coconut cultivation would be lost within the next decade.

"Previously, coconuts were one of our major exporting crops. But at present, we are the ones importing coconuts. We have named coconut trees kapruka, yet we eagerly fell them," he stated.