China's loss is India's gain at least in terms of tufted mats shipments exports during 2020-21. This is mainly because of the higher cost for similar Chinese door mats due to tariffs on their products.

The emerging situation has helped tufted mats to emerge as the second biggest product in coir and products exports basket last fiscal, overtaking coir fibre, with export earnings of ₹807 crore (21 per cent).

Increased demand

Mahadevan Pavithran, Managing Director, Travancore Cocotuft , said increased use of door mats by buyers in the US and Europe as their first line of defence in the Covid pandemic to keep dirt outside is the reason for the demand and shipments surge. Covid necessitated stay at home and spawned a do-it-yourself (DIY) trend, forcing people to renovate their homes, considering the more time spent inside their houses.

Besides, online sales have also took door mats to the doorstep of potential buyers, he told BusinessLine .

Apart from tufted mats, the Coir Board pointed out that the rising shipments of coir pith, coir fibre, hand-loom mats all have led India to set an all-time record in the history of coir and products exports by achieving a 37 per cent value-wise growth.

D Kuppuramu, Chairman, Coir Board said the export earnings from coir and products in FY21 was ₹3,779 crore with a shipment of 11,63,213 tonnes, a growth of 18 per cent vis-a-vis previous year, despite the Covid pandemic situation.

Coir pith with export earnings of ₹1,920 crore constituted 51 per cent of the total exports. Coir fibre garnered ₹629 crore, while value-added items put together constituted 33 per cent.

The US topped the importing countries with 31 per cent in value and 19 per cent in quantity. China is the second largest importer with a share of 21 per cent in value and 35 per cent in quantity. The other countries were Netherlands, South Korea, UK, Spain, Australia, Italy, Germany and Canada.

Tuticorin Port handled 50 per cent of the exports, thanks to its proximity to the pith and fibre producing areas such as Pollachi, Theni, Dindigul and Tenkasi. Cochin and Chennai are the other major ports that shipped substantial quantities.

Complimenting exporters for initiating special efforts to complete the export orders during the pandemic times, the Chairman said the Board is now focusing on achieving an export turnover of ₹7,000 crore in the next couple of years.