Desiccated coconut imports hit coconut industry
“Sri Lanka is reputed for exporting tea, rubber and coconut but the
import of desiccated coconut (DC) from Vietnam for export by DC
producers has tarnished the image” said the spokesman for Sri Lanka
Coconut Co-operative Societies Union, and the Coconut Growers’
The Associations said Sri Lanka will lose its DC market due to the
export of low quality Vietnam DC as Sri Lankan products. Sri Lankan DC
has a unique flavour which commands a premium price.
“The blending of Sri Lankan DC with other origins will reduce the
unique flavour and if this trend continues we will lose the edge in
foreign markets”, the Associations said.
The coconut industry provides income to over 700,000 coconut growers
of which a majority are smallholders who own less than 10 acres.
It has been estimated that around 2 million people depend on the
coconut industry for their sustenance. Chairman, Sri Lanka Coconut
Co-operative Societies Union Ltd., George Perera said Sri Lanka’s
premium quality DC products will lose its market share due to the export
of low quality blended Vietnam DC.
“The Union has six DC factories and 75 percent of the members who
supply their nuts are smallholder land owners”, he said.
“A mill owner in Meerigama who had been authorised by the Coconut
Development Authority (CDA) to import 5,000 MT of DC a year from Vietnam
and export it as a value added product had blended the imported DC with
Sri Lankan DC and exported the product as a Sri Lankan brand”, Perera
The importer had mixed around 60-70 percent of Vietnam DC with 30-40
percent of Sri Lankan DC and had been exporting the product for the past
two years. “There is a great demand for Sri Lankan DC in international
markets due to its unique taste and natural colour.Importing DC from
Vietnam and India will result in many losing their jobs due to the
closure of factories”, Perera said.
Sri Lanka has to compete with Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and
Ivory Coast which produces DC. Sri Lanka exports around 50,000 MT of DC
Perera said the Union had written to the CDA vehemently opposing the
import of DC which had disastrous consequences on the coconut industry
in Sri Lanka. President, Sri Lanka Coconut Growers’ Association Anton
Fernando said the cheap export of Vietnam DC will severely hamper the
growth of the Sri Lanka DC industry that would result in loss of jobs to
He said the DC importer has requested the CDA to authorise him to
increase the import of DC to 10,000 MT next year and added that if
approval is granted it will encourage other mill owners to import DC.