Environmental and Social impacts of Palm oil industry in Sri Lank

The oil palm originated from West Africa, where evidence of its use as a staple food crop dates as far back as thousands of years. Palm trees grow well in the tropical climate. Therefore it spread from West Africa to South and East Asia as a result of the industrial revolution and economic expansion. Palm oil became a versatile and essential vegetable oil which became an important raw material that is used in cosmetics, baked foods, detergents, shampoo, and even biofuel. Most importantly, It is nutritionally, rich, edible vegetable oil. Knowing the economic value of oil palm, the westerners invested in its cultivation in West Africa, followed by Southeast Asia. Palm oil cultivation was started in Sri Lanka in 1967 with the introduction of the palm plant to Sri Lanka by Malaysia. The first cultivation was started by a European planter named Jerry Wales at Nakiyadeniya estate with sixty-eight palm trees. Firstly the palm plantation was started at 100 hectares. Then It was rapidly spread in the southern zone of Sri Lanka as it was identified as a highly economical and profitable crop.