Coir Kerala expo inaugurated in Alappuzha

With a pledge to accord the highest priority to coir sector, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has called for developing new schemes to meet the husk shortage faced by the sector.

“If we are able to procure even half of the husk produced in Kerala, it will more than meet the demands of our industry. We need to redouble our efforts in this direction,” he said while inaugurating Coir Kerala 2013 in Alappuzha, an international event that aims to drive the resurgence of the state’s most important traditional industry.

Funds promised

The Chief Minister also promised that the government would issue an order allocating funds to the tune to Rs 5.12 crore to increase the working capital for cooperatives before the conclusion of the Coir Kerala on February 6.

He hailed Coir Kerala as an initiative to revive and strengthen an industry which he said had to face many crises due to impractical measures and inadequate support for some years.

“What we are seeing today is a change, a new confidence in the industry and workers. This is a sector that employs lakhs of workers, mostly women who work for the lowest wages in the most difficult conditions; any initiative or support to improve their condition must be lauded and encouraged,” he added.

Export target

State Minister for Revenue and Coir Adoor Prakash said that the sector is targeting exports of Rs 1,200 crore – up from Rs 1,052 crore last year – and domestic revenues of Rs 2,000 crore.

“There is no doubt that Coir Kerala has played a part in driving up exports. This time around, we expect the event to generate export orders of Rs 200 crore,” he said.

The Minister added that the State Government had allocated Rs 48.5 crore to implement the income support scheme for workers. Arrangements have been made to credit the sum provided under the scheme directly to the recipient’s bank account.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K.C. Venugopal, who inaugurated the National Pavilion, described the fair as an important step but said more needs to be done for coir workers and the industry as a whole.

He called for housing scheme for impoverished coir workers and working capital to be extended to the private sector.

State Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar, who inaugurated the Theme Pavilion, said the need of the hour is to find new markets for Kerala’s coir products.

More than 160 foreign representatives from over 60 countries and over 250 buyers from around India are taking part in the trade fair, the highlights of which include international, national and theme pavilions, seminars to discuss the latest sector trends, technologies and developments and a buyer-seller meet.

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 3, 2013)
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