Among all the industrial fibres such as Jute, Sisal, Hemp, Cotton, Abaca, Aloe, Banana and Keora leaf used for making decorative and utility products, the natural cellulosic coir fibre is the hardest one and owing to its unique characteristics of staple length, torsional rigidity, twisting property, tensile strength, resistance to friction, damp proof, echo-friendly and durability, coir has established its position in making various industrial and environmental friendly products. The fibrous husk surrounding the seed of coconut contains coco-fibre, the basic raw material for coir industry. Coir fibre extracted from coconut husk is used commercially for manufacture of a range of products with important end uses. The coir industry is a labour intensive industry. About half a million people are employed in this industry in India and 80% of workers engaged in spinning of coir yarn are rural women.
Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are the other major coconut producing states of India. The area under coconut cultivation and production of coconut in different states of the country indicated in Table-2.1 will show how such states are rich in availability of raw-material i.e. coir fibre. It is seen that Kerala state is the largest producer of coconut in the country, contributing as much as 44.7% of total production whereas coconut production in Orissa is only 8%.
The State of Orissa with coast line of about 480 Kms. is having abundant production of coconuts. This activity is generally concentrated in the coastal districts which are evident from Table-2.2. Considering the availability of husk, Orissa has huge potential for development of coir industry and for generating large scale employment for the coir artisans. Prior to 1978, coir industry in Orissa had not come to lime light. Limited coir fibre and coir products were produced by traditional methods in coconut concentrated areas. The husks were mostly used as fuel. Subsequently, on realizing the potentiality for development of coir industry in the state, the State Government took-up various developmental activities through training, research & extension services, financial assistance and awareness programme etc. Similarly Coir Board has also been extending its support for development of coir industry in the state. They had established a Regional Coir Training and Development Centre at Bhubaneswar during the year 1986 to provide skill training and other inputs for promotion of Coir Industry. Now, the centre has been closed in the year 2001 and their Regional 0ffice at Vishakhapatnam is looking after implementation of various schemes in the State.
It is estimated that 80 to 85 kgs. of fibre on an average is extracted out of 1000 full matured husks. But due to the consumption habits and marketing pattern of coconut, most of the husks are used either as fuel or waste. About 80% of coconut with 60 to 70% coverage of husks is marketed in and outside the state, resulting in a situation of 30% availability of husk, for production of fibre. It is estimated that only 25% coconut husks are available for extraction of fibre in our state. On an average, 1837 MTs of coir fibre are produced in our State and the remaining requirement is met from neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Kerala is the major producer of white coir fibre due to availability of natural retting facilities in the form of brackish water, canal water ways, lagoons and sea water flowing through hinters-land. In absence of such facilities and want of matured green husk our state is producing brown coir fibre by mechanical means.
The white fibre is generally used for manufacturing of coir yarn, rope, doormat, mattings and carpets for internal and external marketing whereas the brown fibre is used specially for making rubberised coir products, coir brushes, hard boards, geo-textiles and craft items in addition to yarn, rope, mat, matting and carpet production.
Source : Coconut Development Board