Coir sector can’t distance itself from mechanisation: Coir Minister

CM Oommen Chandy to inaugurate five-day Coir Kerala 2016 on Feb 1 at Alappuzha

Alappuzha, Jan 22: The coir industry needs to incorporate innovative technologies if it wanted to remain competitive, Minister for Revenue and Coir Shri Adoor Prakash said here today.

The minister was addressing a media gathering after inaugurating the reception committee office for Coir Kerala 2016. The sixth edition of the world’s biggest annual trade event on coir and natural fibres will begin on Monday, February 1, at Alappuzha’s EMS Stadium.

“Youngsters from families who were traditionally involved with coir sector are reluctant to join this sector,” the minister said, adding that “mechanisation is the only way ahead to preserve and protect the state’s coir sector”.

For this purpose, the minister pointed out, “coir machinery factories have been set up by the state government along with the distribution of electronic ratts to cooperative societies”.

In addition, the state government is making sincere attempts to resolve the issue of wage revision of coir labourers working at the different government coir institutions in Alappuzha before Coir Kerala 2016 commences.

“The government wants to serve justice to all appointed labourers. The Finance Department  has given us the nod for wage revision, but the lack of technical clarity regarding the number of labourers  is causing the delay,” said the minister, who emphasised that the government is trying to sort  out the issue in a time-bound manner.

“The government has increased the support wage of coir labourers to Rs 300 and is ready to provide this offer to labourers working in the private sector also,” the minister said and added that “labour unions should also help with the documentation of private sector labourers”.

Chief Minister Shri Oommen Chandy will inaugurate Coir Kerala 2016 on February 1. Union Minister for MSME Shri Kalraj Mishra will inaugurate the international exhibition pavilion at the venue. Home Minister Shri Ramesh Chennithala will inaugurate the valedictory function on Friday, February 5.

Alappuzha Corporation chairman Shri Thomas Joseph presided over the inaugural function, which was attended by Kerala State Coir Machinery Manufacturing Company chairman Shri D. Sugathan; ex-MLA Shri A.A. Shukkur; Coir Labourers Welfare Board chairman Shri A.K. Rajan; Coir Corporation chairman Shri K.R.  Rajendra Prasad; FOMIL chairman Shri P. Narayanankutty; ACCDS chairman Shri K.R. Bhageerathan; INTUC leader Shri V.T. Alosious; Muslim League district president Shri A.M. Naseer; Coir Department director Shri K.N. Satheesh, IAS; and NCRMI director Shri K.R. Anil.

The exhibition brings together scientists, researchers and policy-makers to discuss strategies and new projects to create jobs, improve the conditions of workers, increase productivity and earnings across the industry.

Being a platform for producers and exporters in the state to explore marketing opportunities around the globe, the international event will also see an interesting lineup of innovative coir products and machineries.

As many as 150 foreign buyers from 60 countries along with domestic buyers are expected to participate in the event. African and Latin American countries will see especially strong representation. Thousands of coir workers in and around Alappuzha will also take part.

The international pavilion will have 125 stalls while the national pavilion will feature 130 stalls.

Coir Kerala 2016 will also see the introduction of modern coir products and machineries designed to improve productivity in the sector.

Ministers and senior officials will attend international seminars scheduled on February 2 and 3 on the theme of ‘Product Diversification in Natural Fibre Scenario with Emphasis on Coir Sector’. National seminars will be held on February 4.

The key buyer-seller meet will be held on February 3 to facilitate one-to-one interactions.

On the concluding day, Minister for Coir and Revenue Shri Adoor Prakash will interact with the workers of coir industry in the morning to discuss their issues and concerns. Coir Kerala 2016 will also see daily cultural programmes by a number of prominent artistes.

Coir Kerala is believed to be a significant contributor to the annual increase in revenues from coir exports. In 2014-15, income from coir exports had increased to Rs 1,630 crore – more than double the value from the 2010-11 period:  Rs 807 crore.

The Government of Kerala initiated the Coir Kerala programme in 2011 to revitalise the coir sector by boosting production and exports. The event held at the peak of the tourism season has become a much-awaited staple on Kerala’s tourism calendar.

Thiruvananthapuram-based National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI) is the coordinating agency for the five-day event.

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