KOCHI: Tender coconut water might be the best health drink, but disposing of the large volumes of waste husk has been a constant headache both for the vendors as well as for the authorities. But plans are afoot to turn the menace into a boon. The Central Institute of Coir Research has come out with a set of technologies that would convert husks into several value-added products, including compost, toys and coir pith.
“The technology has already been demonstrated to the farmers and various organisations like the Regional Agro Industrial Co-operative of Kerala (RAIDCO) and the Kerala Agro Industries Corporation Ltd (KAIC). We are now waiting for mass producers to bring the products in the market. The project was sanctioned by the Coconut Development Board.
Unlike other parts of coconut, the husk could not be made use of in any way. The only way to dispose of the waste is to burn it in large quantities and that has proved to be difficult in practise,” said Coconut Development Board Director K Muralidharan.
The first technology is for chopping the used tender coconut husk. “We have evolved three machines for this, a manual chopper, a semi-automatic chopper and an automatic chopper. These will be used to slice the husk into small pieces. The chopped pieces will then be dried and made into bales. These can be sold in packets of about 50kgs. They are already in use in European countries for the horticulture. It can also be used as land fills,”, said CCRI director U S Sharma.
The other technology looks at pulverising the product and converting it into coir pith. Coir pith, like the tender coconut husk has been a nuisance for coconut farmers and producers. But today, after a technology was developed to make value-added products out of it,it is now being imported to the country. “Once the husk is converted into coir pith we can make compost out of it,” said U S Sharma.
In the case of matured coconut husk the technology aims at converting the product into toys. “These matured coconut husks have very weak fibres. Using fibre extraction machines these can be converted into various products like toys,” Sharma said.