Ubiquitous coconut plantations sustain the farmers of Goa, as it is a rich source of economically viable products. The coconut thatch, timber, roof, rope and shell and fiber are used to produce variety of handicrafts. The trees yield fuel, building material, liquor and oil with every part of the tree being utilized.
Coir Dori – Rope Making
Ropes are made from the fiber obtained from the husk of a coconut – called coir. The coconut is kept buried in slush near the sea for a year to soften the fiber; then the husk is removed by hand and beaten till it becomes fine, and is finally dried. The fibre is pulled out and twisted to form a strand. This is then doubled and twisted to form the rope. More fibres are twisted when required, to make a continuous length.
Coconut Frond Plaiting
The fronds of the coconut leaves are plaited when green and then dried for making utility items such as roof thatch, cover to protect mud walls, rain shields, sandals, bags and shutters for windows. These products provide a soothing relief in the heat and humidity of the Konkan coast. Interestingly, the Konkan Railway Corporation has erected thatched shelters for the benefit of travellers at most of the railway stations along the Konkan and Malabar coasts.
Saran – Brooms
Brooms are made of both green and dry coconut leaves by first removing the central thick vein of the coconut leaf. Then, the fronds are stripped with a knife and cleaned till they are fine and smooth. Once all the veins are stripped, the thick end of the tapering vein is taken as the top and the fibres are braided (3-ply) in such a way that veins end up in a line, connected to each other by the braided line on top. The rope is extended beyond the last stick by twisting a length of coconut husk into it. The sticks are then wound round to form the saran, with a conical cap of braided husk. Brooms are also made from date palm leaves.