Sri Lankan Minister climbs coconut tree to highlight fruit’s shortage

GULF NEWS – The shortage of coconuts in the island country of Sri Lanka upset a minister so much that he climbed a tree of the tropical fruit to prove his point during a press conference on September 18.

The politician, identified as Arundika Fernando, climbed a coconut tree at his estate in the town of Dankotuwa, with the fruit in one of his hands and holding onto the bark with the other.

This video grab shows Sri Lankan Minister Arundika Fernando during a press conference at his estate in Dankotuwa on Friday to talk about the shortage of coconuts in the country.

Fernando, who is the State Minister of Coconut, Kithul, Palmyrah, and Rubber Cultivation Promotion and Related Industrial Product Manufacturing and Export Diversification was seen climbing the tree using a new kind of gear introduced by a local inventor from the region of Warakapola, local media reported.

“We hope to utilise every available plot of land for the cultivation of coconuts and boost the industry to one which would generate foreign exchange to the country,” the minister was quoted as saying.

Speaking to media personnel from the top of the tree, he said the price of coconuts has increased due to the demand for coconut-related products worldwide. The minister said that those employed to pick coconuts must be paid LKR100 per tree, Sri Lankan media reported.

Although there is a sharp decline in the number of employees to pick coconuts, the minister vowed not to import the fruit despite an increase in price.