Industry Overview

Market Overview of Coconut Fibre

Coir industry, in general, is inclined towards a positive growth rate in global market especially for value added products. Currently global trade of coir fibre and its value added products such as yarn, matting, rugs and carpets as well as geo textile is estimated to worth more than one billion US dollars. Local producers and importers of coco peat in Sri Lanka have thrived in the highly competitive industry by earning foreign exchange in for over 3 decades. As recorded by the International Coconut Community, the global demand shows a positive growth rate for coconut fibre industries worldwide. It is recorded that India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia dominate the global market of coir products. Approximately more than 85% of the total exports are sent from these countries, whereas the rest are shared by Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. 

Confirming the positive growth rate in the region, India, combined its domestic demand with the growth of its export which was only 1% of the world export in 1996, and increased to 11% in 2002 and then doubled to 25% in 2013. The latest figure shows that the export volume of India increased by more than 8.2% during April 2017- January 2018. 

Notably in 2017, Sri Lanka’s export of coconut fibre increased by 11% in value in the period of January to December. The export is seen to be dominated by finished products such as fibre pith, moulded coir products and coir brooms and brushes which contributed to more than 82% of the total export. China is still a major importing country for coir products as its current share in the global market is more than 50% of the world import and is still improving. Coco pith which has been mostly used as an agriculture planting media, fertilizer, animal feed and sometimes bedding for the animal pens, contributed the highest revenue for Sri Lankan coir products which accounted for 42.6% of the total export revenue. 

In Sri Lanka’s coir pith arena during the period of January- May 2018, Japan imported 18,479 tons or 22.3% of the Sri Lanka’s total export of coco pith at 82,703 tons. Other major markets of Sri Lankan coco pith includes Mexico, South Korea, USA, Spain and China. They imported coco pith ranging from 4,243 tons to 10,245 tons during the period. Furthermore, in the same period, rubberized coir pads & mattress for bedding were the Sri Lankan coir products that showed the highest increase in volume compared to the same period in the previous year. The products recorded 399% increase in volume from 268,245 pcs in 2017 to 840,080 pcs in 2018.

International Coconut Day

The contribution made by the industry is commemorated by the International Coconut Community which prescribed theme of World Coconut Day 2020 this year reads as – “Invest in Coconut to Save the World”.

The International Coconut Day was declared in 1998 at the 25th ministerial meeting of the International Coconut Community (ICC), formerly known as the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), an inter-governmental body established in 1969 under the aegis of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The ICC has 20 member countries accounting over 90% of the world’s production and exports of coconut products. Sri Lanka is a pioneer member of the ICC positioned within the world’s top five coconut producing countries. As per the declaration, ‘The International Coconut Day’ falls on 2nd September of every year.


The coconut and coconut based products sector plays a pivotal role in the foreign exchange earnings of Sri Lanka by offering a wide list of products to the international market. Sri Lanka has a relative comparative advantage in this sector due to its legacy and geographical location, skilled labor and indigenous technologies for processing. Industry information suggests that in Sri Lanka, about 25% of the total land Farming practices, new product development and market linkages. As a major beneficial harvest in the country, the coconut industry provides employment to a great portion of the SME sector and has always been a focus area of the Government of Sri Lanka’s international trade and policy.

A couple of technical institutions support the developing technology for coconut processing for making value added products. The key institutions working in this sector in Sri Lanka are: 

  • Coconut Research Institute: for product development ITI – for processing machinery
  • Universities – for product testing some and research into production, processing, and trading aspects of the coconut industry.

Industry data shows, Sri Lanka’s export of coconut fiber increasing steadily as a raw material demanded globally. The export is seen to be dominated by finished products such as fibre pith, moulded coir products and coir broom and brushes which contributed more than 82% of the total export.

Government policy and support available in the sector is available through The Coconut Development Authority is a premier government institution involved with the development of this sector in Sri Lanka. They run capacity building and hand holding programs for farmers as well as processors in three areas.