Following a decline in the share of coir (coconut husk) materials used in packaging, the Asia Pacific Coconut Community, representing coconut producers in the region, has formed a strategic alliance to develop the industry.
According to Christy Fernandez, chairman of the Coir Board, the market share for coir is far from its potential and has affected the producers and their livelihood. The coconut industry as a whole is at a crossroads with intense competition, increasing cost of production and falling prices, he added.
Currently India and Sri Lanka together contribute 90 per cent of the global coir production.
According the organisation's statistics, around 10 per cent of the coconut husk is being used for fibre extraction in the world, amounting to an estimated 0.5 million tonne of coir. The husk is used to provide packaging materials for a variety of purposes, but with its naturally biodradable properties it may well help many food and drink packaging providers in their race to find more environmentally friendly materials.
According to Fernandez, there has been no comprehensive study to assess the actual global demand for coir products and demand-supply gap, if any.
"An international forum of this kind can promote product growth and diversification through research, development of market and human resources, quality improvement, transfer of technology and exchange of market intelligence. It may undertake generic promotion programmes, help prevent unhealthy competition, offer directions for production including a supply side management and take up issues of common interest," said Fernandez.