Coir Processing Technologies - Improvement of Drying, Softening, Bleaching and Dyeing Coir Fibre/Yarn and Printing Coir Floor Coverings

J.E.G. van Dam
Department of Fibres and Cellulose
Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO bv)
Wageningen, the Netherlands

Technical Paper No. 6


Table of Contents

Cover photo: Fibre drying trials under way at Lunuwila Sri Lanka with the equipment designed and developed by the Coconut Development Authority, part of the CFC-financed project "Coir Processing Technologies". J. van Dam, ATO bv, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Common Fund for Commodities
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
Commodities and Trade Division (Intergovernmental Group on Hard Fibres)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
Agro-Industries and Post-Harvest Management Service

Coir Board of India, Kochi, India (Central Coir Research Institute)
Coconut Development Authority, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The views expressed in the paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and/or the Common Fund for Commodities.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture. Organization of the United Nations or the Common Fund for Commodities concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Chief, Publishing and Multimedia Service, Information Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy or by e-mail to or to the Managing Director, Common Fund for Commodities, Stadhouderskade 55, 1072 AB Amsterdam, the Netherlands or by e-mail to

© FAO and CFC 2002

Table of Contents


1. Introduction

1.1 Background to the project
1.2 Objectives and activities
1.3 Execution

2. Coconut - Tree of Life

2.1 Coconut production
2.2 Coir
2.3 Coir markets
2.4 Coir market diversification
2.5 Coir pith
2.6 Charcoal

3. Coir Fibre Processing

3.1 Fibre extraction

3.1.1 Traditional fibre extraction
3.1.2 Green decortication and enzyme treatments
3.1.3 Fibre properties (quality)

3.2 Bleaching

3.2.1 Hydrogen peroxide bleaching
3.2.2 Peracetic acid bleaching
3.2.3 Bio-bleaching
3.2.4 Assessment of bleaching efficiency (analysis and qualification)
3.2.5 Standardisation of bleaching procedures
3.2.6 Laboratory facilities

3.3 Dyeing

3.3.1 Traditional dyeing practices
3.3.2 Banned dyes
3.3.3 Alternative dyes
3.3.4 Dyeing technologies
3.3.5 Project achievements

3.4 Softening

3.4.1 Chemical softeners
3.4.2 Vegetable batching oil
3.4.3 Bio-softening
3.4.4 Assessment
3.4.5 Project achievements

3.5 Printing

3.5.1 Stencilling
3.5.2 Dyes
3.5.3 CAD system
3.5.4 Project achievements

3.6 Drying

3.6.1 Drying technologies
3.6.2 Project achievements
3.6.3 Power generation

4. Economic Aspects of Coir Fibre Production

4.1 Fibre extraction and yarn production
4.2 Bleaching
4.3 Dyeing
4.4 Softening
4.5 Printing
4.6 Drying

5. Marketing

5.1 Eco-friendly and natural image of coir
5.2 Price and performance of improved products
5.3 Marketing strategy
5.4 Supply
5.5 Promotional programmes

6. Recommendations for Further Technical Developments

6.1 General
6.2 Dyeing
6.3 Bleaching
6.4 Softening
6.5 Printing
6.6 Drying

7. Equipment Requirements

8. Conclusions

8.1 Development of technology
8.2 Coir market development

9. Novel Technological Developments and Chemical Processing

10. Recommendations for Post-Project Activities

Appendix A - Bleaching

Appendix B - Dyeing


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