TeleSupport India Repository

Solution Composting of coir pith using oyster mushroom
Country India
Last update: 08/12/2006
Summary The coir pith is a waste product of the plywood industry, the coconut sheath is used as the raw material. The pith is an agro-waste available in bulk and can be made into a good compost, using oyster mushrooms.

The Carbon-Nitrogen (C/N) ratio of coir pith is very high (104:1) which makes it unsafe as an organic manure. Studies have shown that growing oyster in coir pith will bring down the C/N ratio to 18:1. The oyster mushroom requires just 30 days to convert the coir pith into useful nitrogen-rich organic manure. But this method of organic manure preparation does not produce consumable mushroom.

forum discussion 
Contributed by person details Ms. Omana Thakarprambil (RASTA, TeleSupport India)
Challenge/Issue Shortage of sufficient quantity of cheap organic manure is a major problem faced by Kerala farmers in maintaining soil fertility. Coir pith is an organic waste from coir industry, which is available in bulk quantities. The C/N ratio of coir pith is very high which makes it an unsuitable organic manure. Composting with oyster mushroom can reduce the carbon nitrogen ratio of coir pith making it safe and nitrogen-rich organic manure.
Method (For a description of the method in Malayalam see 'Publications' tab)


Fresh coir pith - one ton

Urea - 5 kg

Oyster mushroom spawn (Pleuorotus sajor-caju or P .platypus) - 2.5 kg

Water - 500 liters


1) Select an area of 5 m x 3 m in the farmland having shade and level it. Spread 100 kg of coir pith in the selected area.

2) Sprinkle 50 liters of water evenly over this layer of coir pith. Repeat the sprinkling for each of the layers.

3) Spread 500g of oyster mushroom spawn evenly over the coir pith.

4) Spread a second layer of coir pith on the spawn and then sprinkle 1 kg urea evenly on top of this.

5) Repeat the procedure described above so that there are up to five layers giving a depth of about one meter.

6) Cover the heap with a polythene sheet to protect it from rain.

7) Within a period of one-month dark brown colored organic fertilizer will be formed.
Lessons learned 1) The coir pith will be converted to organic manure containing large quantities of both macro and micronutrients.

2) The structure and moisture retention capacity of the soil are improved.

3) Lignin content of coir pith decreases from 30% to about 5% and the C/N ratio comes down drastically from 104:1 to 18:1.

4) In organic farming areas, urea can be substituted by cattle urine. In this case, water used in composting is substituted with cattle urine. About 250 liters of cattle urine is required for the method described above.
List Keywords
1.1 Socio- economic Sector (OECD) 321 Industry
410 Environmental protection
311 Agriculture
1.2 Institutional dimension Social- livelihood systems/ Gender
1.3 Natural dimension Land/Soils
1.4 Target group(s) 2. SMEs/Private sector
5. Decision makers/Policymakers
1. Local communities
2.1 Production System Irrigated system
1. Mono-culture
Rainfed system
3. Crop- Livestock system
2.2 Production Chain 1. Input Supply & Use
2. Production & Management
2.3 Commodity group Food crops
Non-food agricultural products
2.4 Food Crops Carrot (Daucus)
Wheat (Triticum et al.)
Citrus (Citrus)
Yams (Dioscorea)
Cowpea et al. (Vigna)
Coconut (Cocos)
Beans (Phaseolus)
2.5a Agro-Ecology: Thermal zone 2: Subtropics
1: Tropical
2.5b Agro-ecology: Altitude zone Mid-altitude
2.5c Agro-Ecology: Moisture zone 2. Sub-humid
3. Humid
3.1 Natural Resource Mgmt. 2. Watershed/ River Basin mgmt
3.2 Pollution-Environmental Protection 1. Water
4. Human health
5. Wastes
3. Ecosystems
Telesupport Themes Soil fertility
Stage Country Region Location
Apply India Kerala Wayanad, Kozhikode
Role Person name
Owner/ originator person details Shibu
Function Activity
Upscaling project details Biovillage
Type Title Function Download
Extension leaflet, brochure, policy brief or poster output details Coirpith Composting Method -Malayalam Description 45kb
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