Kerala accounts for nearly 80% of the country’s Rs 2,281-crore coir product exports.
Coir exports in Kerala are getting back on the rails after skipping a prestigious event of its international expo last year, due to the August 2018 floods. Rather than product diversification or design, the bulk of the Rs 1,300-crore modernisation package for coir, is pegged specifically on backward integration.
Kerala accounts for nearly 80% of the country’s Rs 2,281-crore coir product exports. India’s coir domestic market size is estimated to be Rs 3,500 crore.
“Measures are underway to pump funds, schemes and effort into regularising the supply of raw material coconut fibre for coir production. As the revival package is underway, about 100 coir mills have been put in place to expand the production capacities. In the current fiscal, 300 more coir mills will be set up, accomplishing 50% utilisation of coconut husk available in the state,” State finance minister Thomas Isaac told FE.
Sourcing of raw material from far-flung farms has been creating bottlenecks in coir production.
Though 61% of India’s coconuts come from Kerala for its raw material coconut husk, Kerala leans heavily on coconut traders from Tamil Nadu. “With China entering the fray as a major coir fibre buyer, Tamil Nadu has been exporting the bulk of its value-added coconut husk, creating raw-material sourcing issues for domestic coir industry,” said Rani George, secretary (coir), Kerala government.
The revival package is to address these backward integration issues in the industry. “To jack up coir production, 1,000 additional automatic spinning machines would be plied this fiscal,” she said.
FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) is partnering as Coir Kerala-2019, the eighth edition of the international expo on coir and natural fibre products, slated to be held in Alappuzha from December 4-8.
“There will be no slacking on forward integration as well. The international buyer’s meet, that goes with the Expo, is counted to broaden the market base for coir products,” said Dr Isaac.