Although the last quarter has shown a nominal 1.8% growth in coir export volumes, Junes export volumes have shown a 5% plunge. Even now, the domestic market is larger, but the more evolved exports-route fetches better revenue-realisation.
Coir business will push domestic sales this year, Kerala Coir minister G Sudhakaran told FE. In value terms, coir exports fell by 13.7% in June. About 600 additional outlets will be set up during festive season to sell out the stock pile-up, said Sudhakaran. The state has already procured Rs 22-crore worth coir under Distress Purchase Scheme.
The silverlining is that Kerala, which accounts for 60% of worlds white fibre coir, has seen growth in white fibre demand. This is mainly used in rope manufacture. White coir also used to make fishing nets due to its strong resilience to salt water. Export of curled coir has grown by 200 % in volume and 413 % in value during the first quarter of the current fiscal.
With countries like Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam and few Caribbean countries entering coir trade in a big way in the last two years, Indias traditional leading position in coir products like matting are apparently in threat.
Chinese competition has apparently hit India's specialised products like rubberised coir, used as upholstery padding for Europes automobile industry, sources in the Coir Board said. Export of rugs and carpets to the US, traditionally the biggest coir importer, is showing a definite downward trend.
This has created huge mountain of stocks in India. There are two options, said Sudhakaran. One, the Centre should fix minimum purchase price, minimum export price and rebate for coir products. Two, producers should tackle stockpiling by whipping up demand for coir products in local markets.