Coconut shells which used to be thrown away after taking out milk and flesh are now being made into attractive handicrafts and have thus become a means of income for many.
With the idea of making eco-friendly products, Khalid bin Walid, a young entrepreneur from Chuadanga, set up a factory in the municipality for manufacturing handicrafts with abandoned coconut shells.
Now about 250 products – including bird's nests, soap cases, lampshades, salt containers, ornaments, utensils, flower vases, boat, pen holders, lamps, kettles, spoons and cups – are being made with coconut shells.
Each product is sold for Tk100 to Tk800, depending on its size and quality. Products worth around Tk40,000-50,000 are being sold every month.
After meeting demand in local markets, the handicrafts are also being exported to different countries in Europe and Asia as those are completely eco-friendly and beautiful to look at.
Khalid, a chemist at a company in Pabna, set up the factory "Rodo Handicrafts" in the Satgari area of the Chuadanga municipality in 2018. He buys coconut shells for Tk15 per kg from Jashore and Khulna for commercially making handicrafts.
Craftsmen prepare the shells both manually and with machines. Other materials – wood, bamboo, yarn, glue and burnish — are also required.
Factory Manager Sabuj Sabid said traders from different districts come and buy products from the factory. Many orders online. Demand for these products has grown significantly as they are eco-friendly.
This has also created jobs for unemployed youths. In the beginning, 10 craftsmen and their assistants worked there. A craftsman can make on average four products a day.
Rodo Handicrafts Director Khalid said five employees were laid off to keep the company afloat despite losses during the Covid-19. Now the factory is making products regularly and its demand is increasing again. With this, good days will return soon.
Chuadanga Bscic Deputy Director Mohammad Shamsuzzaman said various crafts are being made with coconut shells in the cottage industry. All kinds of support will be given to Rodo Handicrafts as it is a very good initiative. "We will take measures to market the products that are produced here."