Can coir pith replace peatmoss for horticultural purposes in the future?

J. Van Doren, K. Van den Hurk, D. Broekmeulen
Coir pith has proven to be a valuable raw material for growing media. In the past 20 years, the production and processing of coir pith have increased from 1 to 9.6 million m3. Coir pith already has a substantial impact on plant production globally. Coir pith is now considered to be a comparable product to peatmoss. The main question in this research is, therefore: can coir pith replace peatmoss for horticultural purposes in the future? There are sufficient statistics on the acreages of coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) and its revenues. Based on these figures, a potential worldwide availability of coir pith can be calculated. Globally, there are approximately 69.8 billion coconuts harvested annually. The potential coir pith available worldwide has been calculated at 50.2 million m3. The total current production of coir pith from India and Sri Lanka is 719,241 t, which is 90% of the global production. Coir pith is dried and pressed in countries of origin and yields average 12 EN-m3 t‑1 after adding water. This brings the current global production of coir pith to 9.6 million m3. The current consumption of peatmoss for horticultural purposes is estimated at 35-40 million m3 annually. To fully replace peatmoss by coir pith will be a big challenge. Most production of coir pith should be undertaken in developing countries. Investments, infrastructure, skilled employment, a stable political climate and the proximity of sea ports have a big impact on the coir pith production's speed of growth. With an expected growth of 10% per annum, it will take a minimum 15 years to reach the current volume of peat.
Van Doren, J., Van den Hurk, K. and Broekmeulen, D. (2019). Can coir pith replace peatmoss for horticultural purposes in the future?. Acta Hortic. 1266, 43-48
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1266.7
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1266.7
coir pith availability, growing media, sustainability, potting soil industry, Dutch Plantin
English

Acta Horticulturae