Coir pith in high demand abroad; exports rise to Rs 905.6 crore
Cherthala: A decade ago, disposal of coir pith was a burden for manufacturers. Surprising the coir producers, the coir pith started to rule the market as the most valuable coir product.
Coir pith export rose to Rs 905.6 crore in terms of value in 2016-17, constituting 39.6 percent of the total export of coir products. Coir pith export was Rs 432.9 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 688.08 in 2015-16.
The demand for coir pith among foreign buyers and exporters have surpassed coir products. There is a high demand for coir pith from 22 countries including European countries, the US, Canada and Australia. Coir pith is being used in grow bags and blocks (650 gm to 5 kg) for agricultural purposes.
Coir pith which is purified after removing the salt content is used in grow bags. In foreign countries, it is being used to arrange soil for hydroponics. Coir pith transformed as blocks are used for this purpose.
Coir pith is used as one of the prime ingredients for organic manure in India.
The capacity of coir pith to hold water makes it one of the prime element in farming. After realising the scope of coir pith, a German company has started a special unit at Pollachi in Tamil Nadu.
This company has made the largest export of coir pith by beating Indian companies in the industry. Though the scope of coir pith was explored in Kerala, like coir industry, Kerala only has below five percent share of coir pith export.
Fall in the production of coir fiber is a major challenge to the industry in Kerala. At present, coir pith cost Rs 10 to 14 per kilo.
It has been estimated that production of coir worth Rs. 30,000 yields coir pith worth Rs 20,000.