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Botanicoir steers coconut substrate industry through innovation


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Taking significant strides in promoting value added Sri Lankan export products, Botanicoir, is a premier Sri Lankan coco-peat manufacturer and supplier of high-quality and innovative coir products to the UK and global market.  Armed with ample expertise and consistent innovation, Botanicoir specializes in grow bags and other products for soft fruits, salads and flowers.  The company currently supplies coir to growers in over 52 countries.  The latest in the company’s line up of innovations is the “Precision Plus Ultra” mix for soft fruit crops.  Some of the leading growers around the globe are delighted with the results; in many cases the newly developed substrate mix has given growers an increased yield of 5 percent.  Such game changing results have created a buzz in the industry and sensational headlines in the international press.  The product itself was launched this summer in the UK with editors of leading magazines and the UK Agriculture Minister George Eustice attending.

Sri Lanka’s coco peat exports have seen a surge in recent times with earnings amounting to $ 47 million in the first half of 2015. Striving to increase Sri Lanka’s reputation and contribution to the growing coconut substrate industry, Botanicoir invests heavily in product innovation to manufacture value added products.  Catering to varied demand from its international clientele, Botanicoir develops crop specific coir blends that take into consideration rooting, moisture levels and nutrient requirements, among other factors. Precision Plus Ultra was custom made to suit berry crops and combines the salient features of rapid hydration, optimum air-filled porosity, a superior structure, and excellent drainage capacity as well as ease of steering.

“Given Sri Lanka’s significant coconut crop which leads to an abundance of coconut husks, the country has grown to become a leader in the coconut substrate export industry. However, innovation and maintaining consistently high quality value added products are important ingredients in leveraging the existing market opportunity,” commented says Botanicoir’s Managing Director Kalum Balasuriya.  “This is especially true given the changes in global weather patterns, and the resulting floods and droughts that we have had to face.”

Coir grow bags are used for fruit and vegetable production across the globe. Compressed coco peat free of harmful micro-organisms is used to manufacture coir grow bags and these provide an ideal environment for a multitude of crops to thrive.  In addition to being an eco-friendly solution to growing, coir provides a plethora of other benefits such as high water retention capability, root supporting structure and acting as a deterrent to a number of fungi and diseases. Aside from coir bags, there also exists an array of innovations in the coco peat based growing media including coir briquettes, coir blocks, coir disks etc. 

“Over the last decade, the development of the coconut substrate industry has intensified as the world-wide demand for growing media continues to rise. Sri Lanka has the potential to compete with countries such as India, Indonesia, and Vietnam to benefit from this increase in demand if we take strategic steps to think out of the box and invent. At the moment we are fortunate to have an abundance of coconut plantations to source raw material for our products. However, to capitalize on this all industry players should concentrate on research and development to manufacture value added products and improve production techniques,” added Balasuriya.

 


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