Coir exports likely to fall short of target

Written by RajeshRavi | Kochi | Updated: Jan 15 2013, 05:47am hrs
Coir exports for the current fiscal are likely to exceed last year's performance due to a stabilization in the European market. However, the country is estimated to fall short of the export target of R1,200 crore due to lower exports to China.

According to figures provided by the state-run Coir Board, exports during the first eight months of the current fiscal are seen higher in volume and value. During the April-November period, India exported 281 392 tonnes of coir products valued at R750.87 crore as against 267 150 tonne at R687.43 crore last fiscal. Exports of coir and coir products crossed R850 crore during FY 12, when compared with performance of R807.07 .20 crore in 2010-11.

European market has improved a bit due to the stabilization of the Euro. But the worrying factor is the decline in the export of traditional items such as handloom mats, M Kumaraswamy Pillai, director (marketing), Coir Board said. Board sources said that most of the traditional items of export recorded a decline both in quantity and value. As the disposable income of middle and lower income groups fall, they are likely to cut down on luxuries like furnishings or at least postpone the purchase. Export of rugs and carpets are lower by 57 % in volume when compared to the same period last FY. Pillai said in the past India used to export 2000-2500 tonnes of rugs and mats every year and that number has declined to 76 tonnes this fiscal.

Another notable factor is the lower exports of coir fibre, rope and pith to China. It is reported that China is now sourcing coir raw materials from Vietnam and Thailand. This could put less pressure on raw material availability for Indian manufacturers, he added.

In the past three years, India exported substantial quantities of fibre and coir pith, particularly to China, resulting in cost escalation for these products in the domestic market and eroding the competitiveness of Indian products. In the last fiscal, export of fibre increased by 44%, rope by 293% and curled coir by 115 %.

China has been utilizing coir fibre imported from India for the manufacture of coir mattresses and toys.

The Board feels the growing affinity for environment-friendly products worldwide can make coir a sought-after product for furnishing purposes and support the export sector. The board has set an export target of R2,000 crore for the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2012-2017).