The time has come for the coir industry to diversify to tap the potential of new and emerging markets, Union Minister for MSMEs Narayan Rane said on Thursday.
One opportunity facing the industry is the growing environmental awareness and preference still exists for handmade items from different parts of the world, he said at the inauguration of the “Enterprise India Two-day National Coir Conclave here.
Stating that the industry must become competitive in all aspects, Rane said the objective of coir development strategy should be to minimize and, where possible, reverse the consequences of the loss market in favor of synthetic substitutes.
The main strategy should be to stem the erosion of markets for finished products in order to regain some of the shares lost due to the fierce competition exerted by synthetic substitutes in the past and, if possible, to increase consumption, in particular in the case of non-traditional products, with market potential, said the Union Minister.
The short term approach should be to promote the use of coir products currently on the market to compete with substitutes, while in the longer term new technologies and innovative products should be developed, especially in applications where natural fibers have advantages over synthetic fibers and where they can compete more successfully than some of those existing products that have lost market share, he said.
“As the coir industry is woven into the social fabric of coir producing states, we have to be extremely careful when new production technologies are introduced. Prior to the introduction of any new technology, there is a need to educate industry, commerce and workers on the need to equip themselves to survive in the changed scenario. At the same time, it is imperative to ensure that sweeping changes are not introduced abruptly,” he said.
”The social fabric may not be able to bear the brunt of the outcome and we need to take a balanced approach towards introducing new production techniques like mechanization. However, the recent phenomenon of loss of labor from the coir industry to other sectors, coupled with the reluctance of younger generations to enter the coir production process, justifies technological upgrading, a he declared.
Although more than 30 countries spread over the tropical belt in the regions of Asia, East Africa and America cultivate coconut, but the economic use of coconut shell, which is otherwise a waste, is only made in Asian countries which also have an important commercial market. scale in India and Sri Lanka, he said. India holds a virtual monopoly on the industry with a share of over 75% of global coir production and 80% of global trade in coir yarn and coir products and the industry has its origin and growth in the state of Kerala and has proliferated in other states/UTs of the country viz. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Pondicherry, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat, Assam, Tripura, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, he said.
Tamil Nadu has witnessed significant growth in the coir sector and has assumed the status of coir supplier to Kerala, he said.
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