Karshaka Sanghom plans campaign against palm oil import

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI(M)-led Kerala Karshaka Sanghom has decided to launch a campaign against import of palm oil and to press changes in the Central government’s import policy.

Addressing a news conference here on Monday, Karshaka Sanghom State secretary C.K.P. Padmanabhan, MLA, and joint secretaries K.V. Ramakrishnan and P. Krishnaprasad, MLA, said the campaign would culminate in a Raj Bhavan March on March 27 to be attended by 1 lakh farmers from across Kerala.

Mr. Padmanabhan said the Karshaka Sanghom decided to launch the campaign because palm oil import would adversely affect 35 lakh coconut grower families in Kerala. These families survived on the price that coconut fetched.

He expressed regret about the Kerala High Court decision permitting import of palm oil and wondered how palm oil could reach the Kochi port within two days of the High Court order permitting import. Normally, palm oil took over a month to reach Kerala after orders were placed. In the present instance, the High Court order came on November 7 and a shipload of palm oil on November 9. Clearly, only the interests of traders were taken into account when the decision was taken, Mr. Padmanabhan said.

He said that besides trying to create awareness about the negative impact of the Centre’s import policy, the Karshaka Sanghom campaign would focus on consumption of greater quantity of coconut oil so that oil prices would remain steady. There was also the need to exert pressure on the Centre to grant assistance to the government to offer protection to coconut growers.

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