Guest Editorial: The Tie That Binds

March 1, 2007

I was introduced to IECA by Mr. Lars Olsen, a United Nations Development Program consultant engaged by Coir Board for the development of coir industry in India. It was in 1989 or 1990, and I joined IECA shortly afterward. That was the small beginning of a long-term association with IECA.

When I exhibited for the first time at one of IECA’s annual expos way back in the early ’90s, I was the first and only exhibitor at the IECA show from outside the US or Canada, and it remained like that for several years. At that time coir-coconut fiber-was unknown in the US market, and only two companies were using a combination of this natural fiber. Back then, I had a very difficult time explaining this “exotic natural fiber” and how it can be used in controlling soil erosion. Now, after 12 or 14 years, the situation has changed a lot, and there are many exhibiters from Asia showing this wonderful fiber and various products made from it to control soil erosion. It is well accepted in the erosion control industry. The credit must go to IECA for popularizing coir erosion control products the world over.

IECA simply connects the people, and it is doing a great job by doing so.

For more than 10 years my company, Charankattu Coir, has held the first position in the export of coir erosion control products from India, and the credit must also go to IECA for that, because IECA provided me with a platform to show the product to the world and interact with people the world over in the soil erosion control industry. That enabled me to continue to be the leader in this business.

Way back in the early ’90s IECA had barely two or three members from India or even from Asia, but now it has more than 28 members from India alone. It has been a dream to start an IECA chapter in India for the last several years, and last year we made it happen. The credit must go to Mr. Doug Wimble, president of IECA, and to Mr. John Peterson, past president of IECA. Both of them took great efforts in the formation of the IECA India Chapter. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter has adopted the India Chapter as its sister chapter, and we became the first sister chapter in the history of IECA, which has greatly helped us. I must also give the credit to Asia Pacific Institute of Soil Bioengineering for its support for the formation of the IECA India Chapter.

This year we are having the largest participation ever from India at EC07, and I am sure that it will only grow in the years to come.
About the Author

C. R. Devaraj

C.R. Devaraj is managing director of Charankattu Coir Manufacturing Co. in Kerala, India. He is also the first president of the IECA India Chapter.