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Thursday, Jan 30, 2003

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Coir workers' stir hits exports

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Jan. 29

STRIKE by coir workers and small manufacturers during November and December last, had its negative impact on the exports of coir and coir products during the first nine months of the current fiscal.

However, despite the strike the exports during this period had recorded a 19 per cent increase in quantity and 12 per cent in value during April-December 2002. Total exports during this period stood at 59,797 tonnes valued at Rs 253.65 crore as against 50,417 tonnes valued at Rs 226.72 crore, registering an increase of Rs 26.93 crore.

The impact of the strike was visible in December exports as it had shown a decline both in value and quantity. It fell to 3,926 tonnes valued at Rs 15.44 crore as against 4,776 tonnes worth Rs 19.16 crore in Dec 2001, a senior official of the Coir Board told Business Line.

Coir yarn continued to show a decline. As against 9,129 tonnes valued at Rs 26.44 crore in April-December 2001, it stood at 7,685 tonnes worth Rs 19.98 crore during the first nine months of 2002-03. Closing down of manufacturing units in certain importing countries had led to the fall, he said.

However, the major items such as mats, geo-textiles and coir pith had maintained its upward trend. Exports of mats stood at 28,801 tonnes valued at Rs 177.61 crore compared to 23,872 tonnes worth Rs 150.01 crore in April-December 2001-02. Geo-textiles increased to 1,421 tonnes valued at Rs 6.91 crore from 1,208 tonnes worth Rs 5.41 crore. There had been a significant growth in the exports of coir pith, once considered as a waste. 15,115 tonnes of pith valued at Rs 11.27 crore were exported during the current fiscal as against 9,474 tonnes in April-December 2001-02, he said. As its popularity abroad as an excellent soil conditioner is picking up faster there would be a corresponding increase in the demand, he said.

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