Copyright © 2012 Colombo Coir Exporters. Developed by E Technology Solutions

Coconuts are the seeds of a species of palm, Cocos nucifera. These palms flower on a monthly basis and the fruits take one year to ripe. A mature tree can produce 50 to 100 coconuts per year. Coconuts can be harvested from the ground once they have ripened and fallen, or they can be harvested while still on the tree. A human climber can harvest about 25 trees in a day, while a knife attached to a pole can up the number to 250 trees harvested in a day. Monkeys can also be trained to harvest the coconuts, but this practice is less efficient than other methods. Green coconuts, harvested after about six to 12 months on the palm, contain pliable white fibres. Brown fibre is obtained by harvesting fully mature coconuts when the nutritious layer surrounding the seed is ready to be processed into copra and desiccated coconut. The fibrous layer of the fruit is then separated from the hard shell (manually) by driving the fruit down onto a spike to split it (which we call dehusking). A well-seasoned husker can manually separate 2,000 coconuts per day. Machines are now available which crush the whole fruit to give the loose fibres. These machines can process up to 2,000 coconuts per hour.

The coconut husks are soaked in pits or in nets in a slow-moving body of water to swell and soften the fibres. The long bristle fibres are separated from the shorter mattress fibres underneath the skin of the nut, a process known as wet-milling. The mattress fibres are sifted to remove dirt and other rubbish, dried in the sun and packed into bales. Some mattress fibre is allowed to retain more moisture so it retains its elasticity for twisted fibre production. The coir fibre is elastic enough to twist without breaking and it holds a curl as though permanently waved. Twisting is done by simply making a rope of the hank of fibre and twisting it using a machine or by hand and such twisted fibre can be produced to different variety.

Total world coir fibre production is 250,000 tones (250,000 long tons; 280,000 short tons). Sri Lanka produces 36% brown fibre output of the total world supply of coir fibre. Natural coco fibre is used for various purposes such as agriculture, upholstery, fishing, decorations, ornaments, door mats, brushes and brooms and thousands of other products, Coco fibre has a water retention capacity up to 180% a very unique feature, thus attract farmers and agriculture trade with its high enriched nutrients for all kinds of plants as a natural fertilizer.

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