At the Core of Coir

Coir (pronounced “koi’er”) — the one- to two-inch (3 to 5 cm) thick fibrous layer between the green skin and the hard brown shell of a coconut — is fast gaining international renown for its eco-friendly horticultural applications.

American rose growers are raving about it and, with great success, Dutch farmers have been using it for years.

While most coir is discarded, when it is used, the fibers are separated into long and short. Long fibers are used for ropes and mattresses, the short fibers and coir dust are used for both consumer and trade horticultural products.Coir, which wets and rewets almost instantly, absorbs water at a rate of about seven times its dry weight. This is almost 30% more water than peat can hold.

Coir is much more compact and lightweight than peat. Eg., one 8.25 lb. (3.75 kg) bag of coir hydrates to the equivalent of a 2.3 cu.ft. bale of peat moss.

Coir is 100% natural, the color of soil and pH neutral.

It lasts for up to four years and can be used for a wide range of applications, including edible plants.

A typical coconut palm produces one mature bunch of coconuts per month, or anywhere between 75 and 150 nuts per year. A healthy palm bears fruit for up to 75 years.

Hyper-renewable, coconuts are grown throughout the tropics worldwide. An estimated 17 billion coconuts are harvested annually from about 9 million acres.

While there are a number of countries involved in the coir business, PlantBest‘s coir comes from about 1500 subsistence farmers located in the hinterlands of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

The coconut industry in Vietnam contributes to the economic welfare of some 10 million Vietnamese, and provides direct employment to some one million people.

Of the total area under coconut, 73% is located in the 9 provinces of the Mekong delta. As a matter of national land policy, private coconut holdings in Vietnam are limited to 1.25 acres (0.5 hectares) or less, with 60% smallholders, 30% cooperatives and 10% state farms.

Since nearly 65% of the area under coconut has been planted after 1983, the majority of the palms are relatively young, with many fruit bearing years ahead of them.

“He who plants a coconut tree, plants vessels and clothing, food and drink, a habitation for himself, and a heritage for his children.” – Old Philippine proverb