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Coir Board which has been engaged in activities of turning coconut fibres into money yielding ‘golden fibres’ is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee. Coir Board is concerned with protecting the interests of laborers and small scale producers engaged in the field.

When Coir Board came in to existence in 1953 under a legislation enacted by the Parliament namely Coir Industry Act 1953 (45 of 1953) for the promotion and development of Coir Industry in India, Kerala was the only state where its activities are concentrated. But today Coir Boards activities are stretched over 14 states and the Board have selling counters all over India. It is also giving insurance coverage to coir workers.

In India about 10 lakh people are directly or indirectly engaged in coir industry. More than 1000 small scale producers are engaged in this industry. Apart from conventional coir products the coir industry now offers a wide variety of products like conference bags, UV treated umbrellas, coir mattress, coir chapals, coir garden articles, coir ply moulded articles, coir bhoovastra, coir jewellery and handicrafts which have high demand in international market. Coir board is planning to launch more value added products.

Coir is a versatile hard fibre obtained from the husks of coconut. The Coir fibre is one of the hardest natural fibres because of its high content of lignin. Acute shortage of husks for extraction of fibres is one of the major problems faced by the coir industry. Experts in the coir Board have found out that there is an untapped stock of husks in the rural areas from where collection is difficult as onsite defibering is not possible. In order to overcome this crisis the Central Coir Research Institute (CCRI) at Kalavoor, Alappuzha has developed a Mobile Fibre Extraction Machine that can be taken to remote areas where husk is available. It can be loaded in an auto-rickshaw and can be run by diesel engine or electric motor. The machine which weighs only 500 kg can extract fibre from 400 to 500 husks in an hour. This machine can significantly reduce the rate of pollution of water bodies in rural area. In the conventional method husks are soaked in river or lake water. More than 150000 liters of water is needed for soaking and other process. Only 1000 liters of water is enough to sprinkle over the husks in the modern method.

Earlier two male employees were needed to operate the traditional hand loom. The traditional hand loom with pneumatic system developed by CCRI can be easily operated by women workers. Thus the Coir Board successfully implements women empowerment in the industry. The pneumatic system offers high quality with more productivity when compared to the traditional wooden handloom and avoids drudgery in weaving.

The coir composite developed by Central Institute of Coir Technology, Bangalore can substitute wood, plywood and MDF boards. It can withstand termite attack and can be used for making doors, tables, almiras, sofa etc. It is highly eco friendly and the use of this coir wood can preserve our valuable forest. As this comes in fixed size it also reduces the labour cost.

The coir bhoovastra developed by coir board is an answer to the growing concern of soil erosion. Being 100% natural and bio-degradable, coir fibre functions as a soil amendment and helps prevent soil erosion. The bhoovastra has successfully used to strengthen the slopes in Konkan Railway route and in Kohima, Nagaland to prevent soil erosion. This opens up new opportunity for natural fibre based geotextiles including coir. It is priced between Rs 40 to 90 for square meter.

Cocolawn is another product from Coir Board which is in high demand. Cocolawn comprises of coir netting as a support material. Grass slips are planted on the bed of coir pith. The ready to use cocolawn is made available in the form of a blanket, which can be shifted from one place to another and can be rolled up for transportation. It can be even placed over cement floors.

Coir Board brings out a number of publications which includes magazines, hand books and guides, Coir news booklets and VCDs which gives information about the latest trend in coir industry. Coir Board will participate in Eleven International Trade Events during Year of 2013-2014.

Coir Board will celebrate diamond jubilee with a host of programmes. It includes road show from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, an International coir fair at New Delhi from November 14-30th , exhibition of different coir products at Pragati Maidan, Dilli Haat and Chethanalaya at New Delhi. Besides the board will conduct national and international seminars and a buyer seller meet at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

Functions of the Board

The main functions of the Board as laid down in Section-10 of the Coir Industry Act are given below:It shall be the duty of the Board to promote by such measures as it thinks fit the development, under the control of the Central Government, of the Coir Industry.
Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of Sub Section (l) the measures referred to therein may relate to:(a) Promoting exports of coir yarn and coir products and carrying on propaganda for that purpose;

(b) Regulating under the supervision of the Central Government the production of husks, coir yarn and coir products by registering coir spindles and looms for manufacturing coir products as also manufacturers of coir products, licensing exporters of coir yarn and coir products and taking such other appropriate steps as may be prescribed;

(c) Undertaking, assisting or encouraging scientific, technological and economic research and maintaining and assisting in the maintenance of one or more research institutes;

(d) Collecting statistics from manufacturers of, and dealers in, coir products and from such other persons as may be prescribed, on any matter relating to the coir industry, the publication of statistics so collected or portions thereof or extracts therefrom;

(e) Fixing grade standards and arranging when necessary for inspection of coir fibre, coir yarn and coir products;

(f) Improving the marketing of coconut husk, coir fibre, coir yarn and coir products in India and elsewhere and preventing unfair competition;

g) Setting up or assisting in the setting up of factories for the producers of coir products with the aid of power;

(h) Promoting cooperative organisation among producers of husks, coir fibre and coir yarn and manufacturers of coir products;

(i) Ensuring remunerative returns to producers of husks, coir fibre and coir yarn and manufacturers of coir products;

(j) Licensing of retting places and warehouses and otherwise regulating the stocking and sale of coir fibre, coir yarn and coir products both for the internal market and for exports;

(k) Advising on all matters relating to the development of the coir industry;

(l) Such other matters as may be prescribed.
The Board shall perform its functions under this section in accordance with, and subject to such rules as may be made by the Central Government.

Constitution of the Board
Coir Board is a statutory body established by the Government of India under a legislation enacted by the Parliament namely Coir Industry Act 1953 (45 of 1953) for the promotion and development of Coir Industry as well as export market of coir and coir products in India as a whole.

Section (4) of the Coir Industry Act 1953 empowers Central Government to constitute Coir Board. The Sub Rule 4 of the Coir Industry Rules, 1954 provides the number of persons to be appointed as members of the Board.

The relevant section of the Act is as follows:

With effect from such date as the Central-Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf, there shall be established for the purposes of this Act a Board to be called the Coir Board.
The Board shall be a body corporate by the name aforesaid, having perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire, hold and dispose of property both movable and immovable, and to Contract and shall, by the said name, sue and be sued.
The Board shall consist of a Chairman and such number of other members not exceeding forty as the Central Government may think expedient, to be appointed by that Government by notification in the Official Gazette from among persons who are in its opinion capable of representing.

(a) growers of coconuts and producers of husks, and coir yarn;

(b) persons engaged in the production of husks, coir and coir yarn and in the manufacture of coir products;

(c) manufacturers of coir products;

(d) dealers in coir, coir yarn and coir products, including both exporters and internal traders;
(e) Parliament;

(f) the Governments of the principal coconut growing States;

(g) such other persons or class of persons who, in the opinion of the Central Government, ought to be represented on the Board.
The number of persons to be appointed as members from each of he categories specified in sub section 3, the term of office of, the procedure to be followed in the discharge of their functions by, and the manner of filling vacancies among the members of the Board shall be such as may be prescribed.
Any officer of the Central Government when deputed by that Government in this behalf shall have the right to attend meetings of the Board and take part in he proceedings thereof but shall bot be entitled to vote.