While many coir supplies come and go, there are a few that are in it for the long haul. Riococo is one such supplier. The company has been providing coir product to commercial agriculture for over 15 years.
With a large focus on sustainability many growers around the world continue to switch to coco from other forms of growing media. The options to recycle the media after the growing season further highlight the sustainable nature of coir compared to most of the other growing medias on the market.
Coir comes from tropical countries, Sri Lanka in particular as the cation exchange capacity is significantly higher in the coir compared to that of coir from other countries. But with the increase in demand of coir for growers worldwide, many companies have popped up elbowing their way into the market with the promise of very low prices, only to not be able to supply quality and consistency or in some cases not being able to supply at all and having to shut down operations.
How is Riococo able to meet the demands?
Ceyhinz Link’s CEO Shan Halamba stated “We have always planned to be in this for the long term.” “We support our growers with excellent customer service. We have an amazing group of people in our office to be able to make sure that all products are received as promised. Any feedback received from the growers are directly relayed to our factory workers. Everyone here and at the factories takes great pride in having high quality control practices,” Edward “Eddie” McMahon, Ceyhinz Link’s Sales Manager added.
“Looking to our future success and growth we have made several key strategic moves: We have added 3 new processing plants in Sri Lanka, in addition to 1 new storage facility,” Shan mentioned. “By adding these new facilities it allows us to process material year round. We were careful when selecting the sites so if it is raining on one side of Sri Lanka, we can continue to process where it is dry. This allows us to store several thousands of tons of material strategically as well as to fill our orders with the same high quality our growers have come to expect,” further explained by Eddie.
When asked previously Tom Noels had said of Riococo “With so many suppliers on the market and coco coir products are available from different countries, it is extremely important for Windset to buy the most consistent coir slabs on the market. Not all suppliers are as capable as Riococo of supplying this uniform and consistent product on such a large scale, twice a year. Riococo had the most consistent blend, a uniform bag size after wetting the product, and regular EC test samples. The production with Riococo in the trial was the highest."
Satoshii Harada, manager of Kagome in Japan mentioned "Coir is a good propagation media, the combination of the Riococo growbags and the propagation cubes is a sustainable combination. After our crop change, we support local farmers with the waste material that is enriched with useful nutrients, they can use this as fertilizers for open field production."
Richard Billekens, Head Grower of Geoponica in Mexico, believes “There are many companies in the world who can supply you coco, but there are only a few out there who can bring you a product that is that consistent in its quality and still uniform. Even if the slab is dry or wet, what matters is the fact that all slabs are the same. The consistency of the slabs is the only thing that matters to me, because this gives you the ability to steer the entire crop perfectly. And I can adjust my irrigation strategy accordingly.”
As Riococo continues looking to the future, they take the feedback from their growers to make constant adjustments to the coir they are supplying. “We enjoy talking to and working with our growers. Having been doing it for this long most of our growers feel like friends and not customers. I have been working with some of the same people for well over 5 to 10 or more years. Their feedback has been instrumental in the continued development of the Riococo line as we have expanded into over 60 countries, growing a wide variety of crops,” Shan said.
Shan detailed, “To continue to stay competitive we constantly reevaluate the way we operate in certain geographical regions. This year we made the decision in Mexico to remove our distributor for a variety of issues, one of which is to reduce the costs to our growers in that region. To keep representation in Mexico, Central and South America, we have appointed Alejandro “Alex” Avila to our sales team.”
Alex Avila has over 14 years of experience as a Director of Hi-Tech Greenhouses. Several years in Hi-tech greenhouse building/construction consultancy, most recently a 28ha hi-tech greenhouse project in San Luis de la Paz. Alex said why he chose to work for Riococo, “While I was in charge of procurement for many years working in the greenhouses, we bought and trialed many different coir growing mediums. Some companies dropped our orders as they could not supply after taking our deposit, others had expansion problems, or the material mix between bags were different or had rubbish in them. The only brand that worked consistently, had great uniformity, and was the same quality load after load was Riococo. With that experience and knowledge it only made sense to work with them.”
“We built this company with our clients in mind. We have made every purchase and acquisition to ensure that when our clients need us we are able to provide high quality, consistent coco that they have come to expect,” Shan Finished with. Riococo has the only factories in Sri Lanka that are ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 certified.