Drought conditions in some of the southern States last year has resulted in a shortage of fibre availability to the coir industry.
In an effort to help the industry, the Coir Board had said it was looking at improving coconut husk realisation in States such as Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
S. Mahesh Kumar, president, Coir Pith and Allied Products Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that since several coconut trees were affected because of drought last year, husk availability dropped 40%.
Water scarcity impact
Coconut farmers in Tamil Nadu are also diversifying to crops such as lemon, neem and jackfruit. “Coconut consumes a lot of water. Last year, many farmers had to purchase water in tankers to sustain their coconut farms and this was expensive.” The rains have been good for the past month and it might take about a year for the situation to return to normal, he said. Farmers also need to go in for replantation of coconut trees.
The coir industry in Pollachi, which has a large number of coconut farms, are procuring fibre from Karnataka. About 30,000 husks are required per day for a coir fibre industry and, Pollachi and nearby places have more than 500 units. The demand for husk from these units is high, he said.
According to C.P. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Coir Board, fibre prices had increased due to a shortage in availability. Husk utilisation is 95% in Tamil Nadu and 80% in Karnataka.
With the drought last year in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, fibre production had reduced in these two States, he said. Almost 30% of the trees were affected.
“We want to concentrate in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha where husk utilisation is low now. Higher husk utilisation will push up fibre production,” he said.