The Union Minister of State for power, K C Venugopal, has proposed that a dedicated coir production zone be developed in Kerala. The zone could come up in the Alappuzha (Alleppey) town and could end up being Kerala’s ‘Coir City’, the Minster said. It would boost trade and invite new markets to make investments in the coir industry.
Alappuzha is home to the largest coir production unit in the country, an industry that employs 3.75 lakh people in this town. The methods of production range from cutting edge to traditional. Therefore, there is scope for modernization and advancement in the coir industry, reports the Hindu Business Line .
It must be noted that the Kerala government is invested in resolving the issues of income and husk shortage in the coir industry. Chief Minister Chandy has said that his government has accepted the proposal for raising income support and providing pensions to coir workers that retired prior to 2006, reported HBL.
The government’s interest in the coir industry is fueled by the expected rise in Coir exports, to INR1000 crore, this fiscal year. There is a growing demand for coir products in Russia, Latin America and Africa. These relatively new markets are expected to increase the demand for coir by 24 percent this fiscal, up from a 20 percent growth in the last nine months as stated by the Kerala Minister for Coir Adoor Prakash to HBL.
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Ministry has set a target to double the exports in coir, to INR1600 crore, within the next five years. This target is part of the recommendations for the planning commissions for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17). The MSME ministry has plans to develop unique items like coir umbrella’s, jackets, jewellery and hats and popularize them in the international market with an eco-friendly tag. The ministry has also sought an allocation of INR870 crore in the Budget allocation for the promotion of the Coir Industry, a MSME ministry official told PTI, as reported by HBL.