Production and Market Scenario
The Philippines is considered as one of the world’s biggest producers of coconut, yet, production of coir remains very low. This can be attributed to the importance given to the two major products of coconut namely, copra and desiccated coconut, which generate more dollar earnings for the country than coir. Also, the varieties prevalent in the Philippines have bigger kernels which produce less fiber. The global market for coir is dominated by India and Sri Lanka.
During the ten-year period beginning 2001, production of coir averaged 6,949 mt with Davao del Sur as the biggest producer, contributing a yearly average of 2,495 mt or 35.9% to the average production. Laguna followed with 1,090 mt or 15.7% share while Davao Oriental ranked third with 1,035 mt or 14.9% contribution.
Production during this period grew by 34.9% as the firm demand from the export market drew new entrants to the industry. The opening up of the Chinese market in 2003 was a breakthrough for local suppliers of coir and coir-based products. Several trade agreements were forged between local suppliers and Chinese businessmen triggering the full operation of the existing coir decorticating plants and the opening up of new ones in the countryside. As a result, coir production in 2004 rose to 5,117 mt but slowed down in 2005 to 4,350 mt especially in Mindanao where producers complained of the high transportation cost in bringing the fiber to the ports of loading. Production, however, had been on the uptrend in response to the rising demand of the export market, especially from China. In 2010, production reached 14,940 mt, the highest output recorded during the reference period.
From 2001 to 2010, local consumption averaged 311 mt per year with a peak level of 599 mt in 2010 and a low of 119 mt in 2003. Domestic consumption for the past ten years grew by 2.7%.
In the domestic market, coir is being used as a stuffing material for mattresses and upholsteries. It is likewise processed locally into household brushes, doormats, rugs, ropes and twines, coco pads, rubberized coir, panel boards, media for gardening, geotextiles and numerous fibercraft items which are mostly intended for the export market. The geotextiles, mattress and upholstery makers are now the major local users of coir.
In the past years, the domestic market absorbed the bulk of available supply of coir. However, since 2002, the situation had reversed as the export market was able to get the majority of the supply. In 2010, local consumption was 599 mt.
For the reference period, exports of coir and manufactures averaged 8,667 mt which grew at a rate of 9.0%, earning for the country an average of US$1.773 million annually. Coir was the highest contributor for the period with an annual average of 3,601 mt or 41.5% share in terms of volume and has also become the biggest earner with US$0.588 million. The Philippine coir industry posted the highest export volume of coir and coir-based products of 13,611 mt in 2007 and the highest export earnings of US$2.54 million in 2006.
During the ten-year period, exports of coir averaged 3,601 mt yearly growing at an annual rate of 36.7%. Foreign shipment was highest in 2008 at 5,971 mt while the lowest was recorded in 2002 at 239 mt. Exports early in the period slumped forcing some decorticating plants to close down. However, with the rise in the demand from Taiwan, renewed interest from Hong Kong and the opening of China as a new market, exports bounced back in 2003 and reached its highest in 2008. The strong demand of China for coir during the latter part of the decade made it the biggest market during the ten-year period, importing an annual average of 2,063 mt or 57.3% followed by Taiwan with 28.4% share. The increased coir exports was the result of the several trade agreements forged between Chinese businessmen and local coir producers during the series of trade missions conducted in China.
Other importing countries were Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Generally, coir is used as stuffing for mattresses and upholsteries, as raw material for making felt fiberboard for cars in Korea and for nets and bio-logs for erosion control in China.
Coir manufactures consist of other coir products, carpets, doormats and floor coverings, husk cubes and nets of coir. These new commodity codes were introduced when the Harmonized Code was implemented in 2007. The commodity classifications, processed coir (not spun) and coir waste ceased to exist.
Export volume and value of coir manufactures from 2007 to 2010 averaged 413 mt and US$78,398, respectively.
Coir dust was exported for the first time in 1992 to Taiwan and Japan. Japan remained the most consistent foreign market although its imports averaged only 169 mt per year during the period under review. South Korea emerged as the top market with annual average imports of 768 mt.
From 2001 to 2010, foreign shipment of coir dust averaged 2,016 mt. Most of the Asian importing countries use coir dust and peat for animal beddings, fertilizer and as water holding agent.