What is Coir?
(coconut fibers)

Coir, (pronounced COY-er) comes from coconuts. It's what makes up the fibrous husks of the inner shell of the coconut and is used for all sorts of products, including rugs, ropes, brushes and even upholstery stuffing. We're probably most familiar with it as those stiff, scratchy doormats and the fibrous liners used in hanging baskets. Coir is very rot resistant, making it perfect for outdoor products.

Coir goes by many names. You may find it labeled as coir-peat, coco-peat, coir fibre pith, coir dust and other similar sounding brand names.

Primary Uses

Virginia Status

What VA Farmers Need to Know:

Coir waste from coir fiber industries is washed, heat-treated, screened and graded before being processed into coco peat products of various granularity and denseness, which are then used for horticultural and agricultural applications and as industrial absorbent.

The properties of Coco Peat make it resistant to bacterial and fungal growth.Coco Peat holds water rather than shedding it like traditional peat does! It holds 8-9 times it’s weight in water. Coco Peat has the ability to store and release nutrient to plants for extended periods of time. It also has great oxygenation properties which is important for healthy root development. Enhanced root penetration Coco peat extends the life of compost. Contains natural substances and beneficial microbes for plant growth The coco peat has a tendency to expand in its volume, ie. Four to five times from its original volume provided. It has a pH of 5.2-6.8 which is neutral to slightly acidic. This makes it great for alkaline garden soils. Easy to use –  Just put your compressed Coco Peat brick in a container, add 4 quarts of warm water and let it sit until the water is absorbed, fluff it up and you are ready to use Coco Peat! Coco Peat can be reused for up to 4 years. Coco Peat is very slow to disintegrate; it only begins to break down when it is 10 years old, long term benefits. It is very light and easy to handle. It can be combined with any of the normal ingredients and use as a mixer or a stand-alone product. Weed free, pathogen free, insect free and odorless Excellent medium for growing worms.  It’s actually good for them and increases worm growth by 25%. Has high air filled porosity Much lighter than soil, Environment friendly and non hazardous Mixed with sand, compost and fertilizer to make good quality potting soil

VA's Near & Longterm Outlook:

The major problem the coir industry faces today is the inadequacy of R&D effort for product development and diversification . Notwithstanding the euphoria over rising demand for eco friendly products, goods manufactured out of natural fibers especially of hard fibers are finding their future tough in the global market day by day. The very properties of natural hard fibers like inconsistency of quality, mechanical behaviors, moisture related characteristics , durability etc. are disadvantageous for large scale industrial production . The processing technologies require specific adaptations and modifications .

Industries that will Benefit the Most.

  • Automobile, Manufacturing, Packaging, Agriculture, Horticulture

National Status

Primary Regions?

Government of India reports that the greatest value of coir & coir products goes to the United States of America during 2015-2016. Coir fiber can be used directly in products, such as erosion control blankets, or spun into yarn that can later be woven into products, such as rope or carpets. India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are the largest producers of coir fiber, which is imported by more than 20 countries around the world, including Germany, the US, and China. Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and the US also directly import coir yarn from producers such as India, Sri Lanka, and Belgium for the manufacture of value-added products.

Crop History?

The most common products of the coir industry have traditionally been footmats and mattresses. These once came in the original golden coir colour but are now laced with plenty of attractive hues.

Current Economics?

Total coir production was more than 900,000 tons worth about $400 million in 2013, and employment in the coir industry totals several million people.

“Coir is a little more expensive, but the freight costs are less so it is a little cheaper. And coir takes up less storage space.” “It’s not as consistent as rockwool. Sometimes the particles are finer depending on the supplier.”

The Ford motor company and Scotts Miracle Grow are researching the use of coconut fiber as reinforcement for modeled plastic parts to reduce the use of petroleum. Combination of coconut coir with plastic makes the material lighter in weight and reduces the dependency on petroleum, making the combined product more natural looking and flame retardant.

Worldwide Status

Primary Regions?

The coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera) is found throughout the tropics, where it is interwoven into the lives of the local people. It is particularly important in the low islands of the Pacific where, in the absence of land-based natural resources, it provides almost all the necessities of life: food, drink, oil, medicine, fiber, timber, thatch, mats, fuel, and domestic utensils.

Coconuts are grown in more than 93 countries in the world and therefore there is considerable scope to develop coir industry in further countries.

Sri Lanka's coir industry is in urgent need for infrastructure upgrading for it to sustain its coir supremacy.

Crop History?

A natural fiber that has played a historically significant role around the world is coir fiber. Coir is the fibrous material that is extracted from the husk of coconuts, which grow extensively in tropical areas of the world, such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. Coir fiber can be used directly in products, such as erosion control blankets, or spun into yarn that can later be woven into products, such as rope or carpets. India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are the largest producers of coir fiber, which is imported by more than 20 countries around the world, including Germany, the US, and China. Countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and the US also directly import coir yarn from producers such as India, Sri Lanka, and Belgium for the manufacture of value-added products. India is the largest exporter of coir products in the world, with products reaching more than 43 different countries.Since the introduction of industrial coir manufacturing in the country in 1900's, Sri Lankan coir manufacturers have been the main suppliers of raw coir fibre and coir fibre based products to the global coir market.

Current Economics?

The major problem the coir industry faces today is the inadequacy of R&D effort for product development and diversification . Notwithstanding the euphoria over rising demand for ecofriendly products, goods manufactured out of natural fibres especially of hard fibres are finding their future tough in the global market day by day. The very properties of natural hard fibres like inconsistency of quality, mechanical behaviors, moisture related characteristics , durability etc. are disadvantageous for large scale industrial production . The processing technologies require specific adaptations and modifications .

The major markets for coir products are China, Korea, Japan, Germany, Canada and the US.

Important Fiber Terms
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