© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations

Coconut Thatch

Even up to the early 1990s many houses especially in rural areas were roofed with coconut thatching sheets. As this tends to blow off during storms and also can leak or burn easily, corrugated tin roofing sheets or clay tiles have largely replaced coconut thatched houses  in all but the very remote areas. However coconut thatch is still used as wind or privacy barriers or for kitchens.

Weaving the fronds is hard on the hands. First the fronds are soaked to soften them, thus the weavers need access to water so this part time occupation is often undertaken at the paddy fields where the fronds can be left to soak and soften in the irrigation channels when the growing rice is being irrigated.

See You Tube video:

“Easy Money - Sri Lankan Style” (This shows coconut thatch being woven)


This family have laid out foundations for a brick house. The traditional coconut thatched houses are becoming less common

Coconut thatched houses like this one are often used as kitchens separate from the main hose.

Coconut woven sheets are typically used to provide privacy for washing areas or to shade the house from direct sun