The Central Coir Research Institute (CCRI) here has developed a mobile coir fibre extraction machine, which is expected to help overcome the shortage of coir fibre in the State.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday after a demonstration for the coir industry, Coir Board Chairman V.S. Vijayaraghavan said the machine, to cost Rs.85,000, would be used on an experimental basis for around a month before being launched commercially.

Compared to other fibre extraction machines available in the industry, the new machine had several advantages, including its weight of 250kg as against the 1,500kg of the conventional machines. The larger, stationary machines would cost Rs.10 lakh and could be used by large-scale coir units while the new one, Mr. Vijayaraghavan said, would be beneficial to small-scale coir units apart from having no environmental side-effects.

With procurement of coconut husk for extracting fibre being a issue in the industry, the mobile machine would help solve that dilemma to a major extent, the chairman added.

The CCRI had also developed a process to carry out faster retting of green husk fibres by spraying a bacterial cocktail named Coirret on the fibres and keeping the treated fibres wrapped for 48 hours. The process, CCRI director U.S. Sharma said, was a zero effluent process and saved time compared to the existing methods which took at least 72 hours. For dry husk fibres, another zero effluent process by which a combination of a conditioner and EDTA acid would be sprayed on the fibres was also developed, Mr. Sharma added.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan, who said the Coir Board had initiated steps for renovation of 56 de-fibering mills in the State, said tenders would soon be invited for work on two of the units, both in Palakkad district. The Board had also initiated steps to ensure supply coir fibre from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to meet the requirements of the local industry, he added.

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