Kerala: The Treasure Trove of Golden Coir
Kerala, located on the Southern tip of India and renowned as ‘God’s own country’, is the manufacturer of the World’s best coir and natural fibre. Its name meaning ‘the land of coconut trees’ (Kera), this tropical stretch of greenery nestled on the coast of Arabian Sea is truly a treasure trove of coir.
The coir extraction technique in Kerala is a craft developed, perfected and mastered through generations, with Alappuzha (or Alleppey) being the centre of coir production. A land where coir making is a way of life, Alappuzha is where the finest Coir in the World is produced, processed and woven into high-quality fibre products that are exported across the Globe.
The history of Coir and its association with Kerala dates back to the 19th Century. Sandwiched between the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west, Kerala is one of the most beautiful States in India. A tropical paradise of waving coconut palms and wide sandy beaches, this thin strip of coastal territory slopes down from the mountain ghats in a cascade of lush green vegetation and varied fauna. One of the most commonly seen tropical trees in Kerala is the Coconut tree. In fact, even the name Kerala (Keralam in Malayalam) is derived from this tree (‘Kera’ in Malayalam language means Coconut and ‘Alam’ means Land, thus Keralam = Land of Coconut). Everything from Kerala’s culture to its dishes is evolved around the Coconut tree.
Coir: Nature’s Golden Treasure
Coir, fondly called the Nature’s golden fibre for its deep golden hue and beautiful sheen, is definitely the most versatile natural fibre. Also known as Cocos, it can be woven into hundreds of varieties of products and also combined with other Natural fibres to create even more. Made from the soft husk – the fibrous protective layer on the coconut shell that surrounds the nut- Coir making in Kerala is an art by itself, mastered through generations.
The spun yarn (Kayar) has multiple applications. Dyed with natural colours, these are then woven into exquisite, eco-friendly products. Being eco-friendly and 100% bio-degradable, Coir products encourage and support the “Go Green” movement and a Nature-friendly lifestyle.
The term ‘Coir’ has its origin from the Malayalam word ‘Kayar’ meaning a string or yarn spun out of the fibre extracted from coconut husks. It was the Venetian merchant traveller, Marco Polo who contributed the term ‘Coir’ to the European vocabulary. Lustrous in texture and unparalleled in quality, Coir from Kerala is ranked finest in the global coir industry. The State’s annual production turnover stands at 60,000 tonnes. The largest traditional industry in Kerala, several thousands, out of which 84% are women, are engaged in various levels of coir making.