More entrepreneurs show interest in setting up the unit
ERODE: Coconut shell powdering units are mushrooming in the district, thanks to a good market and Government support.
In the recent past three units have come up with Government support by way of subsidy. District Industries Centre (DIC) General Manager R. Ekambaram says Government has granted subsidy to three units, all of which have received the subsidy under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Policy.
The first industry received 15 per cent of Rs. 25 lakh, the cost of machinery, as subsidy under the micro industries scheme. The second, run by a woman, received 15 per cent of Rs. 50 lakh, the cost of machinery, as subsidy and an additional five percent towards promoting women entrepreneurship.
The third industry too has become eligible for such a subsidy and has been granted one but the cheque is yet to be disbursed.
Mr. Ekambaram says all three units availed of the Government grant for expansion that is all have set up second units.
The units buy coconut shells, available in plenty in the district, powder and send them to units that manufacture brake shoe, clutch plate, plywood, moulding workshops, and industries that manufacture mosquito coil.
R. Selvaraj of Agavi Agro Products, Kangayam, says his unit has the capacity to powder 250 kg of shells an hour. He gets 90 per cent of the quantity of shells as powder. The rest is waste.
The powder is then sent to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai and a few other districts in the State.
He says there is a market for coconut shell powder but it has become competitive given the increase in the number of units.
The units buy coconut shells around Rs. 4,000 a kg, which varies depending on the availability. At present it is costly because farmers are not harvesting coconut as it is not profitable to do so.
The powder is sold between Rs. 7.25 and Rs. 7.50 a kg, depending on the quality. DIC GM Mr. Ekambaram says more entrepreneurs have evinced interest in setting up coconut shell manufacturing units and that his office is scrutinising the applications.