Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has decided to market its coir products under the brand name `Kerala Coir: Golden Yarn of God's Own Country,' to differentiate it from products manufactured in other parts of India and outside in the domestic and foreign markets.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Wednesday, Minister for Coir G. Sudhakaran said the Government had drawn up a plan of action to increase Kerala's annual export earnings from coir products to Rs.1,500 crore and sales in Indian market to Rs.3,000 crore over the next five years. Common branding for the State's coir products was part of the initiatives to boost the demand. It would be accompanied by a common quality control system. The logo of the branded Kerala coir would be released by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at a function here on Friday, Mr. Sudhakaran said.

Kerala's coir products were much superior in quality, when compared to those manufactured in other States and countries such as Sri Lanka. This was primarily due to the practice of retting (keeping the fibre immersed in waterbodies for several weeks before using it for making coir) being followed here. Retting lends the fibre strength, durability and superior texture. However, in the absence of a marketing strategy to drive home this quality advantage, it had to compete on par with low quality products from elsewhere.