Staff Reporter

Fair expected to draw a large number of Indian buyers

KOCHI: The India International Coir Fair-2007 (IICF), propose to be held between October 19 and 21, is expected to generate an additional export business of Rs.100 crore. Proposed to be held in Alappuzha, the Fair is also expected to draw a large number of Indian buyers, helping the domestic market to expand substantially, A.C. Jose, Chairman of the Coir Board, said recently.

The Board had organised the first international coir fair in Kochi in October 2001, said a statement issued after a press conference held on March 10. A meeting of stakeholders in the coir industry held in Kochi on March 9 constituted an organising committee for the Fair. The Board Chairman chaired the meeting attended by representatives of various State Governments, presidents of exporter associations, local members of the Coir Board, Chairmen and Managing Directors of State Apex Federation and officers of Coir Board.

It has been decided to ensure the participation of between 75 and 100 serious buyers of coir from traditional markets in the European Union, the United States, and niche markets in South America, North America, African, Australia, West Asia and China.

The proposal is to organise the Fair with co-sponsorship from the Union Ministry of Agro and Rural Industries and Commerce and Industries and the Government of Kerala. An international seminar on coir, buyer-seller meets and an expo showcasing the capabilities of the Indian coir industry will form part of the event.

Mr. Jose said that the provision of Rs.61.25 crore in the Union Budget for 2007-08 is the highest ever Plan provision for the coir sector. Plan allocation for the coir industry for the current financial year is Rs.23 crore.

Rs.30 crore had been allotted for continuing Coir Board's Plan schemes for the overall development of the industry while Rs.22.50 crore would go into implementing a new scheme for the rejuvenation of the Sector through a programme of modernization.

The Coir Board Chairman said that the money would go into modernising the looms as the Board had planned to replace the old looms with semi-automatic ones without hurting the people engaged in this labour-intensive industry.

As part of these efforts, Rs.6.35 crore had been provided for development of coir clusters under the Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries scheme. This is part of the overall provision of Rs.25 crore earmarked for development of 25 coir clusters in various parts of the country, including four in Kerala, over a period of four years.

Coir Board has also proposed an outlay of Rs.1,069.30 crore for the coir sector during the 2007-2012 Plan period.