Kochi: The Centre has drawn up a Rs240-crore modernization programme to enhance the competitiveness of the coir industry, minister of state for commerce and industry Jairam Ramesh said on 7 December.
“This is an ambitious programme wherein the Centre has recognised the crucial importance of coir. We have taken up on ourselves the responsibility for modernisation of the industry to enhance competitiveness and product value,” he said.
The government would soon give its clearance for the proposal, he said inaugurating the India International Coir Fair 2007, organised by the Coir Board in Kochi.
The programme would be implemented over a period of five years. Out of the Rs240 crore, the Centre would contribute Rs100 crore, banks around Rs130 crore and the balance by “users/people” as a small token contribution, he said.
Pointing out the need for adopting a different approach in marketing coir products, he said in Kerala, one of the major producers of coir products, the industry must also give up its subsidy mindset.
“In the coming 10 years, the coir industry must be technology-driven and market-driven and not subsidy-driven. Sooner we get out of this mindset, it is better for the people,” he said.
Ramesh said during 2006-07 export of coir and coir products from the country fetched about $170 million (Rs669 crore).
“The rate of increase we have demonstrated and the diversification exhibited in the coir export market is praise-worthy,” he said, adding India was developing new markets in Europe, North America and West Asia for new products like coir pith, which had great demand.