MANILA, Philippines - From the earliest times of recorded history, people depended on the coconut tree to satisfy many of their needs. An endless list of products and by-products can be made out of the different parts of the coconut tree from the leaves down to its roots. No wonder, the coconut tree is known as the tree of life - a wonderful gift of God to man. In Filipino, coconut is known as niyog; in French, cocotier; in Spanish, cocotero; in Italian, cocco; and in German, kokospalme. And to the sea- loving Arabs of olden times, coconut is called the Indian Nut. It was the Spaniard who called the three-eyed nut as coco which is an old Spanish slang that means monkey face. The Spaniards coined the word coco because the three eyes looked like the two eyes and nose of a monkey.
One part of the coconut that I would like to talk about is the husk that is usually thrown away by many who do not know that there is gold in the coconut husk. And to think that we produce more than eleven billion coconut husks annually! Many Filipinos do not know that the Philippines has more than three (3) million hectares of coconut land with three hundred million coconut trees planted in sixty (65) out of seventy-nine (79) provinces.
From a report of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), coconut husk contains ten (10%) percent bristle fiber, twenty (20%) percent mattress fiber, and seventy (70%) coir dust or shorts or wastes.
The coconut fiber from the husk is stiff but elastic, pliable and resilient.
Known as coir, the coconut fiber is bio-degradable and an eco-friendly product. Like the abaca rope, the coir-woven rope is known for its strength.
Coconut coir has multiple applications.
It is used for upholstery cushion, car seat stuffing, mat, carpet, rope and cordage, fishing net, flooring material, filtration pads, insulation materials - and lately as geotextiles or erosion control nets.
The endless use of land for agricultural and shelter for hundreds of thousands of years - not to mention the erosion and other natural calamities have been causing great damage to our lands . But by simply layering the land with geotextiles, land is protected.
What is coco geotextile? Coco geotextile is made from coconut coir fiber twine woven into high strength mats. Coco geotextiles which come in rolls are getting popular in shoreline stabilization because of their strength, ecological qualities and biodegradability. It is used as a soil erosion control device. The geotextile readily absorbs water. It also builds up soil fertility and unbelievably replenishes lost essential nutrient in the soil. Definitely, a boom to ecology and environment preservation.
Many countries like Japan, Canada, United States, Australia, Germany, and China are using geotextiles - which also protects riverbank shoreline roads with steep slopes. Some provinces in China, for example, have a big common environmental problem. The sand of the ocean is eroding the soil. Our coco geotextiles which is made from the natural coconut fiber is one hundred per cent biodegradable.
To date, there is a big manufacturing plant soon to be inaugurated in Quezon Province which will produce and manufacture our wonderful coconut coir.
After an American novelist drew ire by calling Manila the "gates of hell," a popular Brazilian author pacified Filipinos anger by telling them they knew the way to heaven.