Australian-owned cocopeat manufacturer looks to capitalise on unprecedented demand from a booming soft fruit industry
Australian-owned, Indian cocopeat manufacturer Ecomix Australia – one of the supply partners under the umbrella of ProdOz International – has set its sights on global expansion.
Managing director Martin Vadakekuttu said the company has more than 60 per cent share of the Australian market, supplying premium growing media, crop solutions and technologies to the soft fruit, vegetable, medicinal cannabis, and propagation nursery sectors nationally.
Vadakekuttu said Ecomix Australia would leverage its unique manufacturing processes and position as one of the few cocopeat manufacturers that wholly control their own supply chain to ensure a stable supply and price for growers around the world.
Established in 2011, Ecomix Australia manufactures the growing media at its own facility in southern India before exporting and supplying to leading producers in Australia, the UK, the US and New Zealand. It also has a presence in Korea, China, and parts of Europe.
“As both manufacturer and distributor, we can supply a premium product at very affordable prices as surplus production will increase with demand,” Vadakekuttu said.
“Having a stable supply of cocopeat and a stable price is crucial for farmers as it ensures financial security, reliability and contributes to the overall sustainability of the agricultural sector.
Supply could range from six to 12 weeks depending on the final destination, he said.
A renewable resource, cocopeat is derived from the extraction of coir fibre from coconut husks and is a natural byproduct of the coconut industry.
“The production process typically involves minimal use of chemicals and pesticides, making the end-product a more environmentally sustainable option compared with some other growing media,” said Vadakekuttu.
“This reduces the potential for environmental contamination and pollution. It also has excellent water-retention properties, contributing to water conservation and promoting sustainable irrigation practices and it can help improve soil structure when used as a soil amendment.”
Ecomix Australia supplies a range of high-tech growing media products to Australian growers operating in the hydroponic and greenhouse space, as well as open-field production. New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania are its primary markets.
“We manufacture three types of cocopeat – washed, unwashed and buffered. In Australia, where labour costs are high and producers pay a premium for water, 100 per cent of supply is washed to remove salinity which is a natural property. In developing countries such as Latin America and Africa, there is more demand for unwashed. This is closer to the raw state and therefore less expensive. Buffered is the most expensive product as it has nutrients such as calcium and magnesium added after washing,” explained Vadakekuttu.
Ecomix Australia recently gained a key foothold in the UK after supplying to leading soft fruit growers for the first time, last year. It will also exhibit at the Morocco Berry Conference and Fruit Logisitca to support its expansion effots.
“Growers achieved some outstanding results from that first shipment. As a result, we now have more orders and are confident we can significantly grow that market further,” said Vadakekuttu.
“With years of hands-on experience in developing substrates for different crop needs, we feel the global market can benefit from our products. While in Morocco we will spend 10 days visiting existing and potential growers.”