As the world is reeling from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers in Sri Lanka are looking for new buyers for their crops . . . and in some cases, new crops for their buyers. As the beleaguered farmers seek answers, more and more are turning to the Palmyra Palm to help solve their troubles.

The Palmyra Palm is one of Asia’s best-kept “sugar secrets.” Palmyra Palms are low-maintenance and produce a lucrative sweetener that, when processed, looks very similar to brown sugar. Demand for palm sugar is soaring around the world as people are beginning to discover the health benefits of this organic sugar substitute.

India and Indonesia are dominant players in the Palmyra Palm industry, and Sri Lankans are taking note of the success realized there. India has a government body specifically tasked with helping farmers produce, manufacture, and promote products derived from the Palmyra Palm.

The sugar is derived from the palm sap and can be used as a substitute for any sweetener.

Not only are traditional farmers looking to the Palmyra Palm to help solve their financial woes, but many “hobby farmers” and “urban farmers” are finding a way to enter the Palmyra Palm market. For example, in India, the government is encouraging residents in urban areas to consider planting trees if they have any available yard space. Even one tree.

Palmyra Palms are very versatile plants and are adept at growing in rugged conditions.

The notion of turning to a country’s rugged flora to create products for the market is something wellness companies have been doing for years. Melaleuca, The Wellness Company has turned to the rugged Melaleuca Tree and the Bush Food Shop has turned to the wild Kakadu Plum.

The abundance of Palmyra Palm trees in Sri Lanka is staggering. Now it is time to harness the economic potential of these incredible plants and get some serious discussions going on the issue. And the beautiful thing is, you don’t have to kill the tree in order to do so.

As we ponder the solution to our country’s economic woes while sitting in the shade of a palm tree, perhaps the answer is staring right down at us. We just need to look up!