Coir is extracted from the tissues surrounding the seed of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), which is grown on 10 million ha of land throughout the tropics. There are two types of Coir: brown fibre, which is obtained from mature coconuts, and finer white fibre, which is extracted from immature green coconuts after soaking for up to 10 months.
Coir fibres measure up to 35 cm in length with a diameter of 12-25 microns. Among vegetable fibres, Coir has one of the highest concentrations of lignin, making it stronger but less flexible than cotton and unsuitable for dyeing. The tensile strength of Coir is low compared to abaca, but it has good resistance to microbial action and salt water damage.
Globally, about 500 000 tonnes of Coir are produced annually, mainly in India and Sri Lanka. Its total value is estimated at $100 million.
Source: FAO 2009