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Unleashing the economic potential of coconut husk

Craftsmen producing sustainable cricket pitch mat from coconut husk in Nesarabad Upazila

Introduction

Approximately 50 billion coconuts are grown worldwide every year, about 85% of the coconut husks are discarded like trash. The burning of the coconut husk is creating air pollution leading to environmental degradation and affects the health of the public. However, the new invention ‘coconut fabric’ has several properties that are beneficial to sportswear designers and also used for making cricket pitches in internationally. For instance, Cocona textiles are fast drying (92% faster than cotton), which means the cricket pitch spends a long time in the rainy season. Cocona is highly durable, lasting longer than other organic options such as bamboo and cotton.

making-artificial-drop-in-mats-cricket-pitches-coconut-husk
Figure: Craftsmen in Nesarabad upazila of Barishal are developing and making artificial drop-in mats for cricket pitches from coconut husk. Courtesy: Al Mamun

Idea about coconut husk

Day by day Bangladesh is becoming a textile innovation hub. In our country, raw materials like coconut husk, cotton, jute, etc. are available and less costly. Craftsmen in Nesarabad upazila of Pirojpur district in the division of Barishal have long been reputed for making cricket bats now they are contributing to the development and making of artificial drop-in mats for cricket pitches from coconut husk. This pitch is being made by the artisans of the sawdust industry. A foreign pitch is used for cricket practice in the rainy season. But now the alternative coconut husk pitch is manufactured locally.

Craftsmen and local organizations

Village people are working and dedicated themselves to making coconut husk mats and delivering these to the different cricket-related sports organizations in Bangladesh such as Bangladesh Cricket Board, BKSP, Police Training Centre, Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Air Force, etc. Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) authorities said that the traditional cricket pitches get soaked with rainwater in unfavorable weather like the rainy season. Coconut husk pitches are solving this problem. Coconut coir delivers improved surface stability, water resistance and reduces players’ foot holes. That’s why the cricket players and different cricket organizations prefer these mats to enhance their activities.

Manufacturing and costing

For the last four decades, the craftsman in Swarupkathi has been involved in making different household and craft products such as doormats, bags from coconut husk. The length of the pitch is 66 feet, the width is 8 feet and the thickness is 2.5 inches. The main ingredient in making this pitch is the fine rope of coconut husk. In the local language, this rope is known as Katra. For making the Katra 10,000 tk to 13,000 tk are needed. Three workers have to work for six days. The manufacturing cost of one pitch is around 28,000 tk and the selling price is 35,000 to 38,000 tk. They sold 35 to 40 pitches a year. Demand for these artificial pitches is increasing day by day.

coconut-husk-fiber
Figure 2: Entrepreneurs directly take orders from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and BKSP authorities, and deliver good quality indoor artificial pitches so that players can practice well.

New initiative and BSCIC

The entrepreneur named Md Mohiuddin from village Beltala in Sutiakhati union, and owner of The People’s Coir Industries; has been manufactured cricket pitch for the last 40 years. He said, “We directly take orders from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and BKSP authorities, and deliver good quality indoor artificial pitches so that players can practice well. We collect the raw material coconut husk from Bagherhat. After that, three to five craftsmen make ropes from the coir and attach them to make the final cricket pitch. One such mat can be used for 7 to 8 years.”

BSCIC will work to enhance the skills of industrialists and workers in this sector. This government agency will help to get the loan as per the demand of the craftsman. This commercial potential pitch is awaking new dreams in the minds of young entrepreneurs. Demand for this artificial coconut husk pitch may also be created a market abroad. Milton Chandra Bairagi, Deputy Manager of Pirojpur BSCIC, said, “We have trained 50 people under a government-funded project. We also provided Tk 1 crore as loans to 25 trainees with easy term under the project to encourage them to this sector.”

Conclusion

A significant aspect of coconut by-products is that they’re completely biodegradable and can be easily decomposed. Unlike polyester and plastic materials, it can be broken into smaller parts and mixed in with soil that will absorb it in a few weeks and hold its minerals and micronutrients. The coco coir, also called coconut fibre, market size was valued at $369.70 million in 2019, and is expected to garner $525.70 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 8.2% from 2020 to 2027.Coco Coir is used in products such as floor mats, doormats, brushes, mattresses etc.

The government and industrialists should come forward to utilize coconut husk for more value addition and ensure a better life for the craftsmen.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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