Alappuzha, Feb 3: Buyers from 54 countries interacted with sellers and exhibitors at the buyer-seller meet here today as part of Coir Kerala 2016, which is expected to generate business deals and export orders worth more than Rs 250 crore.
The meet, a showpiece event of the five-day trade expo on coir and other natural fibres, facilitated one-to-one interactions between some 159 buyers from 54 countries and 260 registered sellers and exhibitors of an impressive array of coir products, including geotextiles.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Shri P J Kurien, who inaugurated the programme, described Coir Kerala as a “success story”, which has helped promote and preserve Kerala’s largest cottage industry that provides livelihood for a large number of families.
“India has the best quality coir and coir products in the world. The one-to-one interactions over the past several years have helped bring this to the world’s knowledge,” he said. “What must not be forgotten in the talk of profits is how much effort ordinary people have put into each product.”
Shri Kurien also called for “greater modernisation, better technology, intensive research and consistent marketing, especially in the domestic market” in order to keep Indian coir products ahead of the competition.
Besides private sector firms, the meet registered the participation of government undertakings like Foam Mattings India Ltd, Coirfed and the Coir Board, as well as a number of cooperative sector entities.
In his presidential address, Minister for Coir and Revenue Shri Adoor Prakash said the buyer-seller meet is the most crucial event of the expo. “Our current partners – and former buyers at previous buyer-seller meets – have found that investing in clean, emerging, cutting-edge technology can be a very successful and very meaningful enterprise,” he noted.
“It is a marriage that bears the twin fruits of profit and goodwill. These are commodities that both buyers and sellers can share in and grow from,” the minister said, adding: “Over the past five editions of the BSM, we have seen not just higher turnouts of potential foreign and domestic partners but also received highly enthusiastic feedbacks from them.”
Stephen Berry, a representative of Aussie Erosion from Queensland, Australia, said his company had been importing coir products for about five years. “I’ve known about this event for a couple of years now. It just made sense to come and get an idea of some of the new products and methods that are available,” he pointed out.
In his second consecutive year at the meet, Vincent Chirchir, a National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI) alumnus who runs ‘Affa’ company in Kenya, said he came to ‘meet as many sellers as possible and get good deals.’
“Last year was a very good experience for me. It made me realise the importance of coming back here to network and learn,” he said.
Gopinatha Silva, of Brazil-based Maha Laksmi Imports Ltd., which regularly imports coir products from Kerala, said, “I am here to explore new opportunities and products. In the global economy, traditional business is down and the eco-business is up. The coir fibre is a big beneficiary of this trend. This is a good event for this new era.”
Abdul-Hameed Saeed, a first-time delegate from Badah Group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which has been importing coir products like doormats for over 20 years, said he expects to procure coir fibre and scout for more suppliers since there is a high demand for coir products back home.
Secretary (Coir) Smt. Rani George welcomed the gathering. National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI) director Shri K R Anil delivered the vote of thanks.
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