- Coco fibre and coco dust worth Tk50 crore are produced annually
- Coco fibre is used in making floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses
- Coco dust is used in soilless roof gardens, seedlings production, livestock and poultry farms
- Coconut is produced on 2,735 hectares of land in Lakshmipur
The business of coconut husk is gaining popularity day by day in Lakshmipur where coco fibre and coco dust worth Tk50 crore are produced annually.
Demand for coconut fibre and coconut dust has grown to such an extent that the products are being sold in advance even before production, said traders involved in the business.
Traders said even 10 years ago, coconut husks used to be discarded. Some used it as fuel. But now coconut husk has become an expensive item.
Abdur Rahim, a trader of coconut products from Haiderganj Bazar at Raipur upazila in Lakshmipur, said, "Not only coco fibre, but coco dust also is now a valuable substance for the last 2-3 years. Coco fibre is one of the main ingredients for making various products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes and mattresses while coco dust is one of the ingredients used in soilless roof gardens, seedlings production, livestock and poultry farms.
Lakshmipur, one of the major coconut producing districts, is the main hub of coco fibre and coco dust production in the country.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Lakshmipur, coconut is produced on 2,735 hectares of land in the district. Besides, there are coconut trees almost in every household. About five to six crore dried coconuts are produced in the district every year. Coco fibre and coco dust are produced in processing factories from dried coconut husk.
Coconut buying and selling warehouses and coir processing factories have been set up at Haiderganj in Raipur upazila; Dalal Bazar in Sadar upazila; Mandari, Chandraganj, Panpara in Ramganj upazila; Mirganj, Sonapur, Hajirhat in Kamalnagar upazila; and Alexander and Zamindarhat in Ramgati upazila of the district. There are 30 small and big coir processing factories in these areas. At least 10-12 workers work in each factory.
Abdur Rahim, a coconut trader in Haiderganj Bazar, said, "Several tonnes of coir is turned into coco fibre every day in each factory. Due to the huge demand, coir processing factories are increasing in different parts of the district every year. Fibre worth Tk1.5-2 crore is sold annually from each factory."
Tofail from the same area said, "Only two years ago, coir from one coconut was sold at 50 paisa, but now the price has increased to Tk5-6. After making fibre from the husk, a 20kg bundle of fibre is sold at Tk500-600. Every week, each factory produces 4-6 truckloads of fibre. After excluding all expenses, each factory earns more than Tk50,000 per month."
Md Zakir Hossain, the owner of Satata Traders in Dalal Bazar, said, "We make coco fibre from coir. Buying fibre from us, different companies make coir felt which is used inside the mattress."
Md Anwar, the owner of a nursery, said that the powder extracted from the coir while making fibre is used to make coco dust which is used for the cultivation of vegetables without soil. Coco dust is now very popular as a substitute for soil for seedling production. That is why coir powder is also valuable now.
"Around 160 kg coco dust can be produced as a by-product from 1,000 coconuts. A 20kg sack of coco dust is sold at a wholesale price of Tk140-160," he added.
In this regard, Shahriar Islam Khan, Extension Officer of Lakshmipur BSCIC Industrial City, said, "Many coir processing factories have been set up in in the district, creating employment for many people. The economy of the district is prospering as a huge market has been created centring on these two unconventional commercial products. About Tk50 crore is earned annually from coco fibre and coco dust."