There is a big demand for non-kernel coconut products (husk-based) especially for activated carbon in many countries in Europe. Therefore there should be a proper mechanism to collect the non-kernel raw materials for the industry, said the Chairman of the Coconut Development Authority (CDA), Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe.
Sri Lanka now exports value-added coconut products unlike earlier when only raw materials such as raw fibre, coconut shells and charcoal were exported.
Thirty percent of coconut shell products are exported at present. Exports of kernel based products were high until recently. Four years ago husk-based products took over and exports are increasing. Seventy percent of coconut shell products are wasted while only thirty percent is being used for the industry.
The Activated carbon, the product made out of burned coconut shells has a higher value since it is used for water purification, air purification and for medicinal purposes. Coconut Husk Chips are used in European countries for water purification and at the end of 2015 it was made compulsory to purify waste water in those countries.
After the purification, Europeans use coconut chips as an organic-fertilizer.
Hence the CDA expects a fifty percent growth in exports of husk chips within a year by introducing a proper mechanism, said the Chairman.
It has become increasingly difficult to collect by-products such as husks and shells since Sri Lankans use fresh nuts for their daily requirements.
Therefore, a good mechanism needs to be introduced to make the maximum use or else coconut-shells would go waste. Those who collect and supply raw materials will be registered with the CDA following an advertisement and then absorbed into the industry.
The CDA has launched financial schemes and grants for industrialists to develop their factories. It is open to industrialists who are registered with the CDA. The Quality Control Department is operated by the CDA to improve and ensure the quality of the products.
The CDA has drawn up a scheme to connect industrialists with foreign buyers. We coordinate with different consulates to build meeting points with buyers and sellers. The CDA plans to hold exhibitions all over the world as they have helped over the years , he said.