The project developed technologies for producing higher quality and more attractive coir products which would have greater consumer appeal. This required the development of improved drying, bleaching, softening and dyeing processes as well as improved processes for printing on coir floor coverings.
Activities of the project focused on the analysis of the methods presently used for treating coir fibres and on the implementation of laboratory trials on improved processes. The project generated follow-up proposals for two specific initiatives, viz., “Development of Spinning Machinery for Coir Fibres” and “Biological Applications in Coir Processing for Pollution Abatement”. The proceedings of an international workshop held in December 1997 have been published.
The project concluded in 1998 and the final technical report was prepared by FAO in 1999 and was published in 2001 as Common Fund Technical Paper No. 6. In this report, a concise description and analysis of the activities and the project results has been provided, linking the technical achievements in improving coir characteristics, based on chemical and biochemical improvements of wet processing of coir, to important observations regarding required parallel financial/economic considerations. Although technology development is of course a continuous process, the project has contributed to increased knowledge and insight in opportunities to improve coir fibre for use in applications that require increased coir characteristics. Project findings were disseminated and are being utilized through-out the coir industry in southern India and in Sri Lanka.
The project introduced a novel technology which treats the coir fibres by hydrophobation acetylation, which results in prolonging the functional lifetime of coir products by a factor of three.