A mysterious blight that affected coconut cultivation in the south has worsened, and statistically, 225,273 coconut trees in the Matara District have been uprooted to prevent spreading of the blight.
Matara District Coconut Cultivation Board Regional Manager A.K. Jayasekara told a meeting at the Matara District Secretariat that compensation paid for the trees that were cut and removed by the owners amounted to Rs. 450,546. He said several affected trees were destroyed by injecting a chemical when the owners ignored the order to uproot them. He said that a large number of effected trees had been identified and the owners were informed to remove them. The official said that a remedy against the blight had not yet been found, and that the only way to prevent the spreading of the blight was to uproot and destroy the affected trees.At present, the transport of coconut saplings, or coconut by-products including coir-fibre, coconut shells and husks from the affected areas to other areas has been prohibited.