The upgrading of the traditional fibre mills to a modern industry is in line with the present day requirements such as environment protection, high quality products for the export market, officials said.
Fully modernized and upgraded ‘Helena’ fibre mill at Weerapokuna Bingiriya was opened recently kicking off the ambitious initiative.
Five such mills countrywide wil under go modernization under this programme making paradigm shift in the minds of traditional fibre millers and to match with current and future industry requirements.
Government was now making more efforts to explore the export market for coir and its products and to introduce high value coir products here in Sri Lanka.
“There is tremendous scope, and we are determined to make the best use of it,” H.K. Udaya Rupasinghe, Chairman, Coconut Development Authority of Sri Lanka said.
Traditional uses for the elastic and durable fibre include ropes and twines, brooms and brushes, doormats, rugs, mattresses and other upholstery, often in the form of rubberised coir pads.
But technology and applications have undergone rapid changes and now, geo-textile; ply boards, pith organic manure, garden articles and even ornaments can be produced using coir, he added.
This programme aimed at moving forward the current Sri Lankan fibre industry to a modern one incorporating modern technology to the existing traditional system was assisted by the Coconut Development Authority, he pointed out.
Another objective is to upgrade the stakeholder’s knowledge on modern technology, standard processing and quality aspects of the export industries.
Dinesh Fernando, Managing Director of the Tropicoir Lanka said “this initiative will be a model of modern fibre mill to the fibre mill industry
while guiding the quality processing and handling the raw material without contamination especially from sand, weed seeds and pathogens.
It also ensures to maintain proper physical and chemical parameters of the raw materials, he added.
At the moment, Coconut substrates industry has developed as a major foreign exchange earner in Sri Lanka but now it is facing many challenges.
He noted that there was a threat for our industry too from our competitor countries such as India, Indonesia, and Philippians which has the highest coconut yield.
These countries are benefited due to resources availability, scale of the industries, low cost of production and efficient due to the system automation, he said.
Research and Development (R&D) and innovation are the key factor for survival and sustainability of the industry, he claimed.