As per the MoU entered into by the Coir Board and the NCTI, the centre would be an IT-enabled one and would include a website on coir www.coirindia.org and would have a complete database of Indian coir products and exporters.
According to NCTI executive director SS Agarwal, in the changing scenario, it was important to get into e-trading. The site would have an exporters ‘dynamic’ database where there would be photographs and technical details of products. There would be links to sites of companies. At a later stage, the centre would go in for payment gateways.
For the first year NCTI would look after the trade through the site and later hand it over to the Coir Board. The centre would provide all information regarding global trade statistics to help identify major markets and explore new opportunities.
The centre was being set up under the ongoing UNDP-aided project ‘technology transfer, modernisation and capacity building in Indian coir sector,’ Mr Agarwal said.
The centre was being set up here at the headquarters of the board. It would work as a centre for information and would assist the industry to promote their products in the domestic and international market. It would provide information in respect of overseas imorters, buying agents, electronic trade opportunities, opportunities for joint venture technology transfer, manufacturers/exporters of carpet-making/textile machinery, manufacturers/exporters of dyes and chemicals, coir research institutes, training establishments and other valuable stuff.
About the preformance of the coir industry during the first nine months of this fiscal, board chairman Christy Fernandez said there was a 1 per cent growth in value and a 4 per cent growth in quality terms on the export front.
A quantity of 50,526 tonnes of coir and products was exported during the nine months while in value terms it fetched Rs 230.8 crore. The target set for this fiscal was Rs 340 crore and given the situation this looked impossible. However, the fiscal would end on a positive note, he added.
Besides the recession and the September 11 attacks, the strike in the coir sector last month had a telling effect on the industry. Geotextiles exports had gone up quantity-wise by 28 per cent while in value terms it was 31 per cent. In the US, under the new WTO regime, the new farm policy subsidies were being given for conservation measures using bio-degradable geotextiles. This should open better possibilites for India, he added.
There was also a move to pool in others and have a common front to push the case of geotextiles and other commodities like jute. About China coming into the market in a big way, he said the Chinese grass products had proved a big threat to Indian coir matting. There was the need to soften the coir fibre and steps in this direction were being taken, Mr Fernandez said.