The case for coconut waste utilization, I

Coconut de-husking in GUINARONA.

Let’s have a focus on the coconut and the new and revolutionary things that we can do with it.

Hereabouts, we call the coconut,  the tree of life, for the reason that every part of it is of beneficial use to man.

Even as the country is a major coconut producer, the Philippines is most of the time stymied in revolutionary ways of utilizing the coconut, nay, the thinking-out-of-the-box approach in dealing with this abundant and sustainable resource.  For instance, billions and billions of liters of coconut water is just thrown away and is never brought to use.

Then, with the exception of India, the coconut husk in the Philippines is just another fuel to dry the copra, and the excess, which is very considerable, is just left to rot away or left on the ground, only to be the habitat for rats and other vermin.

Which begs the question:  Can’t we use the coconut husk—it being light and airy– as base for an organic fertilizer?  Indeed we can, and let us count the ways.

Wikipedia rendering of the layers of the coconut

Wikipedia has this  illustration re the parts of the coconut fruit.  The coconut husk skin is called exocarp, which is waxy and is therefore difficult to decompose.  On the other hand, the inner part of the husk, the mesocarp, is softer and watery—and this is the part that can decompose faster, given the right mix.

Therefore, to accelerate its use as fertilizer base, there has to be a substance, nay fungi, that will hasten the husk’s decomposition.  And if you go to a logged forest, you would find fungi sticking out of dead and decomposing logs—these are called Saprophytic fungiand can be tissue-cultured in agar medium in the laboratory  Once we have the culture spawn, we can now apply it on the chopped coconut husk pile, not unlike we do in mushroom culture.  Because of the spread of the saprophytic fungi in the pile, the whole thing will decompose twice as fast as without it.

The second phase of the process is now to age the husk compost with a combination of bat guano, chicken manure, humus and marble dust, which is plentiful and free in marble-cutting factories.  The aging of approximately one month is finished and the fertilizer now undergoes heat treatment to sterilize it.  Then, presto, we now have a top-of-the-line organic fertilizer, which we can further standardize for N-P-K- according to use.  Such fertilizer we can package and sell at the Supermarket  or in bulk to any comer.


12 thoughts on “The case for coconut waste utilization, I

    1. Yes, we did have work on this. But that was years ago, and no video is extant. By the way, another fungi that helps in biodegrading coconut husk is the one found in cooked sugar palm fruit husks.

  1. Catherine

    Hi.i just want to ask if the coconut husks and its shell has to be grinded before it gets decomposed by the fungi.and you have any journal you have done making coconut husks into a fertilizer?

    1. No, you may not utilize the coconut shells for composting, only the husks are viable. Of course, splitting the husks to manageable sizes helps in accelerating the decomposition. In my experience, the fungi from cooked sugar palm husks are the most effective, although you can also scour the forests for decaying timber, where you get the pure culture.

  2. ppac

    With the absence of bat guano, chicken manure, marble dust which are not readily available in large quantities how long does decomposition, if it does? If left to decompose by itself, without any intervention, how long does it take for the coconut husk to decompose? I want to put in large scale coconut husk chips as mulch in my orchard but discouraging data out there (coconut husk being inert, or lacking in nutrition or does not decompose) made me think twice about it. I’d appreciate the info.

    1. Admittedly, coconut husk, by itself, takes a long time to degrade, except when you chop it up in pieces. Without the introduction of decomposing fungi, it will take 6 months for it to decompose. If chopped to bits. the surface area of decomposition is small, and the process of degradation will take 3 months

  3. Shirish

    Will the excarp and mesocarp decompose if put directly into the ground without the use of Fungi or any other products mentioned ?If yes how much time might it take?
    Thank you

    1. If ground to small bits, the material will decompose, as soil organisms will aid in the process. If whole or in big pieces, the soil organisms will have a hard time decomposing the material. As to the time of decomposition for both sizes, I can just make a conjecture.

  4. Pingback: Biochar, the best way to dispose coconut shells – sundayfarmer

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