A Chinese company under the guidance of the Chinese Government has shown an interest on investing in a large charcoal factory in Sri Lanka in the Southern province.
The investment for the project is Rs. 200 million and it is located out of the coconut Triangle, Chairman, Coconut Development Authority (CDA), Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe told Daily News Business.
Sri Lanka can compete with other countries such as Vietnam, China, Indonesia and India to produce coconuts, if there is a proper mechanism to collect coconut shells that are otherwise discarded, he said.
There is a demand for activated-carbon produced by Sri Lanka from many foreign countries and Sri Lanka has been unable to cater to that demand. Sri Lanka produces only 25-30 percent activated carbon out of the total coconut production and 70 percent is wasted. Coconut shells are neither used at the household level nor collected properly and the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) has taken steps to collect the coconut shells that are not used properly.
Sri Lanka s charcoal fetches high prices in the world market since they are used for water-purification and air-purification in various countries in Europe. If this system is found to be efficient, Sri Lanka can produce a large volume of charcoal to the world market, he said.
The CDA acts as the governing body to form a network system in collecting coconut shells. He said that those interested should register as collectors for coconut shells and they will be provided with the infrastructure and other facilities.
The CDA has already received 1, 500 applications.
It is expected to increase the collection of coconut shells to 100 million tons a month - 1, 200 million a year. Two-thousand million tons of coconut shells will be otherwise wasted annually. The registered collectors will be facilitated with technology and other facilities such as storage and sacks.