Coconut Coir Processing

The growing global demand for geotextile, weaved coconut fiber twines, has transformed the priorities of the Philippine coconut industry. The industry whose only source of income in the export market was copra now faces a great challenge in meeting the growing demand for geotextile in countries like China and USA.

However, the production of coconut fiber in the country is limited by the low technology of equipment used and the under-utilization of coconut husks where the coconut fiber or coir is obtained and the lack of capital of the coconut farmers.To overcome these limitations and promote the production of geo-textiles in the Philippines, the government developed livelihood projects in order to facilitate the coconut farmers in setting up their own facility for coconut fiber processing.

Technology / Product

The product in focus is 3 out of I— 12 coir processing machines i.e. decorticating and twining developed by MIRDC-DOST. The target end-products of these processing machines are coirs that can be converted to geotextiles and other products.

Production Process Flow

The Philippines is among the top three largest coconut-producing countries but the country has a very limited participation on exportation. Bicol region has the largest area and is increasing in size per year. By 2005, an estimate of 415,500 ha. is planted with coconuts. This area is followed by Eastern Visayas, Davao Region and CALABARZON. However, from an estimated total of 324 Million coconut trees, only 85% are considered productive It can also be observed that Eastern Visayas, Davao Region and CALABARZON are included in the top producers of coconut.

These areas therefore, are prime sites for a manufacturing facility for ease of transport and efficient material handling. ARMM is also slowly closing the gap in terms of production with Eastern Visayas. However, it should be noted that the recent climatic changes and natural disasters such as landslides and typhoons have significantly affected coconut plantations.

Machine/Equipment

1. Mni-Decorticator

A decorticator is a machine that breaks up husk segments through a metal bars revolving at high speed. The machine separates non-fibrous materials from fiver. The output of this machine is coir dust, each byproducts have their own range of uses.

The mini-decorticator produces mixed fibers 4-6 inches by separating them from the peat of coconut husks through a scraping drum where multiple blades are welded 94mm apart. The machine is powered by 22 Hp diesel engine. Production capacity is 5,000 husks/day minimum. Size is 1.25 x 0.86 x 1.25m, and weight approx 300kg.

2. Twining Machine

]This machine is designed to twine coconut fiber to be used in the production of erosion-control geotextile nets. Basically, a result of reverse engineering, this machine has acquired further improvements in the capacity, safety and ergonomics. The machine developed by the MIRDC has a capacity of producing 20 kg of twined fiber per day, which is 5 kg more than the capacity of its conventional counterpart.

The machine is powered by 2 Hp diesel engine. Size is 1.28 x 4.8 x 0.70m, and weight approx 250kg.

Market Potential

Global Industry in the Asia-Pacific regions dominate the global coconut industry. Sri Lanka tops the list as the world’s largest exporter of various fiber grades from coconut husks. India follows by leading other countries on exportation of value-added products. As mentioned earlier, a handful of products can be manufactured from coconut fiber such as mats, floor coverings and geotextiles. Other countries include Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The combined production amounts to 86% of total coconuts around the world.

However, the global output of husks utilized for fiber extraction does not exceed to 10% or an estimate of half a million metric tons (MT) of coir. This underutilization of resources is found to fall down into two main categories — Either the coconut husks are used to fuel the production of copra industry or it goes to wasteland. The world’s import amount to an average of 101,010 MT while Philippine’s participation is very negligible to account for.

Currently, the global annual production of coir fiber is about 350,000 metric tons (MT) with India and Sri Lanka as the top two  producers accounting for about 90% of global coir fiber production. 86% of the coconut in the world is produced by fifteen countries in the Asia — Pacific region. However, only a handful of these countries process coconut husks into fiber and other value-added products.

Sri Lanka is the highest producer of coir while India focus more on producing value-added coir products such as mats, rugs, rope and geotextiles. Other countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam are the other primary producers of coir. The coconut production of the Philippines is globally competitive yet the production of coir remains very low. This can be attributed to the greater importance given to the major products of coconut, copra and desiccated coconut, which generate more income than coir.

Moreover, the coconut varieties prevalent in the Philippines have bigger kernels and produce less fiber than those produced by India and Sri Lanka. Based on the report of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), only 10% of the total coconut husks available is processed into coir while 50% is used as fuel in copra production and the remaining 40% is left unused. For every coconut, 10.5 — 12% of which can be processed into coir.

For costing and total investment, download table – www.mediafire.com/file/8jwf77a1a2yao1w/Coconut+Coir+Processing.pdf

For more information, contact:

Technology Resource Center
103 TRC Bldg., J. Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan City
Tel. No: 727-6205
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.trc.dost.gov.ph

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