Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs V.Sivagnanasothy says the government has taken several measures to revamp the Palmyrah industry in the Northern Province. Rs. 100 million has been allocated to improve Sap based products such as jaggery, sweet toddy, candy and toddy bottling plant etc., There are 11 million palmyrah tress in the northern province, but they are not used effectively to realize the full economic potentials, he said. The sap production is very high from February to August.
“It is also noted that the tapping community is the most poverty affected group and they are not fully realizing the benefits due to the seasonal nature of the production of sap and the inadequate attention on sap based value added products,” said Mr.V. Sivagnanasothy. He said, “Due to inadequate income from tapping and social stigma, the number of tappers is on the decline in the recent past. However, there are over 7500 members in the Palm Development Co-operative Societies in the Northern Province which can be activated and strengthened.” He said the recent visit by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the northern province, the members of the Palm Development Societies expressed their concerns on the need to support their economic and livelihood activities. In this context, Mr. Wickremesinghe, directed the Ministry to develop palmyrah based jaggery production and other related SAP products which have very high demand in the Island as well as among diaspora and global community. The jaggery production has medicinal values, nutritional value and organic values with low Glycemic Index while serving as a sweetener. Therefore, the Ministry has identified active Palm Development Co-operative Societies and plans to support them with palmyrah jaggery plant and related technology. Further, at the discussions some of the Palm Development Co-operative Societies also requested for toddy bottling plant to preserve the excess toddy and to cater the market during off-season. Palmyrah toddy is believed to have essential vitamins and minerals and is an organic product with nutritional value.
It is also noted that the tapping community is the most poverty affected group and they are not fully realizing the benefits due to the seasonal nature of the production of sap