NF Coir Ltd is one of the largest SMEs in the coir industry in Bangladesh. The coconut coir (fiber) industry in Bangladesh is relatively nascent and has a lot of growth opportunities in both home and abroad. NF Coir Ltd. is one of the country’s leading coconut coir processing businesses with over 10 years of operational history.
Working with coconut husks, NF Coir produces mattresses for beds, coir scrubbers, coir felt rugs, and coco peat blocks. It has established itself as a corporate supplier of big brands like Otobi, Akhter, Swan, RFL etc, some of the largest household names in Bangladesh. It mainly supplies coconut fiber to corporate clients and also to local businesses.
Recently, the company moved into backward integration by setting up a fiber extraction plant to produce its own fibers from coconut husks. The company also acquired pith block machines to turn coir dust, a waste material of the process, into sellable coir pith blocks.
As an impact enterprise, it has established itself as a farmer and worker friendly company that works with its stakeholders to achieve commercial success and social/environmental impact.
The entrepreneur, Mr. Mostafiz Ahmed, had a family business of coconut oil. His father used to own a coconut oil factory. Here he realized that a lot of coconut husks are wasted in Bangladesh, where this waste has economic potential. He started a new, labor-intensive business, generating employment.
For a successful operation of the business, the entrepreneur started his homework before 2000. He traveled to India to understand more about the business. In 2000, he started to build new machines for making coir products and established his factory. First he imported machines and then made those in his own workshop.
To grab the market at first and understand the market, he used to import coir product and sell them to local customers. By 2005, he managed to start trial production and began to start supplying his own goods at a reduced price. By then, the business managed to capture the market.
The company has the ambition to establish itself as a top local and global coir product exporter of Bangladesh.
The investment contributes to job/livelihood creation, increased income for employees and smallholder farmers, and recycling waste into eco-friendly products.
It contributes to SDG 5, SDG 8, and SDG 12.
NF Coir’s current line of business came from the desire to use 100% of the coconut i.e. the husk which is mostly thrown away. They keep designing newer products such as plant pots, in-soles for hotel slippers, gardening items. Several of their machines are developed in house. The team learned the processes watching Youtube videos. The entrepreneurs visited different factories and machine dealerships to learn about how the machines work and they build them at their own facility. They are still innovating constantly to keep up with the market trends of coir based products and always on the look out for export oriented products i.e. products that have high demand in the international market.
The company established itself as a market leader of coconut’s fiber-based felt mattress maker. NF Coir is constantly trying to develop new products lines with the versatile material they are sourcing such as tufted rugs, coco pole (for climber plants and vines), shoe in-sole, chew toy, etc. Their strength in the industry has given them the idea to also produce a very new kind of soil replacement products. Coco peat block is highly sought after as it is a sterile growing medium for plants. Scrubber is a relatively new product which are bought by fisheries to clean tanks, MNCs with dishwash product lines, and exporters as eco-friendly products. Mattress filling is their highest earner, as the highest volumes are supplied here to the largest mattress businesses.
They have successfully exported this product to South-Korea. NF Coir is now exploring new product lines such as dish scrubber, shoe in-sole, and pet chew toy from coconut coir. Truvalu’s aim is to support the company to become more formalized and structured so that they can also produce these products according to the standards of the Dutch market and export them.
NF Coir needed better access to finance and business formalization. Through its co-entrepreneurship approach Truvalu: