Agri Business

Kerala hopes to rope in other States, private sector to meet demand for coir geo-textiles

V Sajeev Kumar Alappuzha | Updated on December 07, 2019

Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac   -  THE HINDU

Potential demand for the product is huge in road sector

Kerala is banking on coir geo-textiles to rejuvenate the centuries-old coir industry. It is hoping to generate a turnover of ₹1,000 crore in the next five years, said TM Thomas Isaac, the State’s Finance Minister.

Speaking on the sidelines of Coir Kerala 2019 at Alappuzha, the Minister said that use of coir geo-textiles has proved to be highly effective in road construction and the State has successful test cases of coir geo-textile-based road reinforcements. NHAI will initially require close to 40,000 tonnes of coir geo-textiles and the requirement in open cast mines will be huge.

Thus, the demand for geo-textiles is going to be so large that Kerala by itself would not be able to meet the demand. Kerala, the only State government in India with a Coir Ministry, will rally other coconut growing States such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. A ministerial delegation from other States have been invited for discussions on a coherent coir geo-textile strategy, the Minister said. The private sector will also be drawn in for profitable production of coir geo-textiles by providing support in setting up production units, he said adding that the government has signed MoUs with more than 100 milling units in this regard.

The government, according to the Minister, intends to double the production of coir to 40,000 tonnes in 2020-21. The contribution of domestic fibre to this growth has increased to 50 per cent from less than 10. The increase in the yarn production is by and large absorbed into the product sector.

The government has also taken steps to increase the wages of spinners to ₹350 per day from ₹300. The workers in machine spinning as well as defibreing sector receive ₹500-600 per day.

Coir has hitherto been a product for floor mats. However, in the backdrop of emerging technologies, there is enormous opportunity for product diversification. Needle-felt technology that eliminates conventional spinning and weaving is at the core of the transformation, he said.

According to him, needle-punched coir felt boards can be used as an environmental-friendly alternative in the acoustics market, which currently deploys glass and mineral fibres.

The government has allotted ₹1,400 crore across the value chain of coir which included procurement of technology, marketing development, defibreing and pith sector development. Investments for mechanisation and infrastructure creation have also been proposed, he said.

Published on December 07, 2019

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