Special Correspondent

Shipments to U.S. account for 35 %

Kochi: The export of coir and coir products during the year April 2009 to March 2010 has achieved a record growth of 115 per cent of the Rs.700 crore target, fixed by the Union Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, for the year, despite continuing global recession affecting the country's foreign trade in different spheres.

Coir product exports during the period touched 2.95 lakh tonnes valued at Rs. 804 crore, registering a growth of 47.31 per cent in terms of quantity and 25.64 per cent in value terms as against two lakh tonnes valued at Rs.639 crore exported during the corresponding period in the previous year. Exports, which stood at Rs.592.88 crore during 2007-08, has registered a growth of 36 per cent in two years time to touch Rs.804 crore during 2009-10.

The U.S. continued to top among coir importing countries with an intake of 35 per cent of Indian coir products followed by Germany and the U.K. among the list of over 100 counties to which Indian coir products are exported.

While non-traditional products like coir pith, coir fibre, PVC tufted mats and curled coir made positive growth, traditional products including handloom mats and handloom matting showed either a negative growth or stagnation in exports.

Thanking the coir export community in general for the excellent performance for the second consecutive year, Coir Board chairman V.S. Vijayaraghavan said the Board was taking necessary steps to secure higher export incentives for coir on a par with jute products which, if achieved, would take the country's coir export trade to still higher levels in the years to come. Expressing concern over the declining exports of traditional products, Mr. Vijayaraghavan said the Coir Board was also making all-out efforts in infusing technology upgrading coupled with higher export subsidies to boost sales of coir handloom products.

This will sustain the traditional coir workers community located in the Ambalapuzha and Cherthala taluks of Alappuzha district in Kerala.