Demand for coir products is increasing all around the world. To meet this demand, coir related companies have mushroomed all over Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the last 10 years. Export of Coir has support of both State governments and the Central governments. Hence there is no dearth of loans and subsidies for these industries.
Husk removed from coconuts is called Coir. Coconut husk is treated and washed with water. It is then dried, broken down and converted to Coir fibre or dust.
Coir dust is moulded into blocks called Coir pith blocks, or Cocopeat. Coir fiber is used to make ropes. It is also used to make planting beds and planting logs. In India, it is widely used for mattress filling.
Fine fibers are converted into Coir yarn which can be used to make Coir mats, carpets etc. Short Coir fibers are pressed down under heat and pressure to form a variety of non woven Coir products like tree mats, planters, seedling trays, planting beds and logs.
All these products have good export potential, with ropes, mats and mattress having demand within the country and outside.
Coir products – What & Where
Coir fiber and pith manufacturing was originally focussed along the backwaters of Kerala. It is now wide spread around Pollachi in Tamil Nadu and backwater regions of Kerala. Sri Lanka is also one of the major producers of Coir.
Coir rope and yarn manufacturing is widely prevalent as a small scale industry all over Tamil Nadu, especially concentrated in Pollachi, Coimbatore and Udumalpet.
Coir looms are high on investment and have good export potential. This industry is prevalent in Kerala with good support from the state’s Coir board. Coir mat manufacturing is an investment heavy industry. It involves attaching woven Coir to backing material which is then printed with traditional or fancy prints to make eco friendly coir door mats and carpets.
Non woven Coir products is a relatively small industry. Coir planters and tree mats are gaining in popularity in a few countries where Coir is seen as an eco friendly alternative to rubber mulch and rubber tree mats. Since these products are used in smaller gardens, their demand is comparatively lesser than Coir pith and fiber used for agriculture.
Requirements to start Coir industry:
As the name implies, Coir industry requires a good location close to coconut availability. Hence states in southern India are best suited.
This industry requires huge quantity of water supply. Canals, rivers and back waters are free public resources in India. Government does not limit or monitor such resources. Hence Coir industries are located close to back waters in Kerala and PAP canal in Tamil Nadu.
Though this leads to exploitation of water, pollution of ground water and water scarcity for farmers, governments have not yet initiated action against this.
In Tamil Nadu, farmers get free power supply. Hence, people who already have farm lands may use this cost-free electricity to wash and dry Coir fibers.
Machines needed for this industry are mostly manufactured within the country. Coir board offices in Kerala and Tamil Nadu offer ample information and support to new entrepreneurs with regards to machinery and process.
Coir is treated as an agricultural product. Hence it was mostly exempt from tax. Under the new GST scheme, most Coir products are levied a tax of 5%.
Washing and drying of Coir requires acres of land. As an alternate to this, many manufacturers rent out washing and drying works to small farms that have water and free electricity.
Coir industry is high on returns due to minimal processing cost, free water, free or subsidies electricity, and most important of all, high price due to exports.
New entrepreneurs looking for investments with maximum returns can consider this field. Information is widely available through Coir board. Government gives good subsidy, concessions for Coir as it is an agricultural produce. Export opportunities are available widely around the globe.
All this makes Coir the best venture for educated entrepreneurs looking for global business opportunities.