Alappuzha, Feb 4: Contrary to the notion that mechanisation of the coir spinning sector reduces the involvement of women in the cottage industry, ongoing research suggests that the sector is becoming more women friendly.
Intensive studies in progress at the National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI), the coordinating agency of Coir Kerala 2016, have reported that the sector’s traditional emphasis on women empowerment has remained unaffected. Further research is being conducted into methods to reduce the work load on women while increasing productivity – all through the production line: from husk processing to coir products manufacturing.
In the coir industry, the participation of women has been consistently in excess of 85 per cent. With mechanisation coming in, experts expect more women to join this field.
The electronic spinning machine revolutionised the spinning sector, enabling a single person to work on a machine at a time compared to the old ratt that needed at least three people to operate it.
Automated spinning machines, manufactured by Kerala State Coir Machine Manufacturing Company (KSCMMC), can spin around 13 kg of husk over a worker’s eight hour-shift. These machines, which come at a cost of Rs 2,900 each, are in high demand since their ease of use makes the coir spinning process easier for women, according to KSCMMC Chairman Shri D. Sugathan, Ex-MLA.
“A skilled and experienced worker can even manage to spin around 15 kg of husk in eight hours,” said Anandavalli , a resident of Thannirmukkam, who has been spinning coir for over 20 years. “The coir produced from these new machines is also of superior quality,” she added. Other workers share her opinion.
“The NCRMI has put conscious efforts to make the new machines lightweight and user friendly. De-fibering machines have helped increased work efficiency in husk beating process and also reduced physical effort needed for this process,” said Dr Anil K.R., Director, NCRMI.
The NCRMI-developed ‘Pneumatic Geotextile Loom’ is proving to be another success story for mechanisation, which helps not only women workers but also women entrepreneurs.
The machine with an expected price of around four lakh rupees is designed to be handled by a single person and is used for geotextile production. Relying on air compression technology, the machine only needs an operator to move the lever. The machine, developed last year, is expected to be released for commercial use shortly.
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