Coir industry limping back to normalcy

Export of coir products from the State to the U.S. and European countries has resumed

The coir industry, hit hard by COVID-19, is slowly getting back on track. The export of coir products from the State has resumed and majority of units has started operations albeit with fewer employees.

Sajan B. Nair, secretary general, Federation of Indian Coir Exporters Associations (FICEA), says the exporters hope the industry will achieve some normality in three months. “We have started shipments to the U.S. and countries in Europe, major buyers of Kerala coir products. But the operations are yet to become full-fledged. We are currently working at 50% efficiency, which will be gradually increased. The demand for coir products is expected to pick up in overseas markets in the coming months,” he says.

The virus outbreak in North America and Europe, clubbed with the nationwide lockdown, has brought the entire coir sector, already in crisis, to its knees with zero exports between March end and the start of this month.

According to Mr. Nair, the export sector has suffered loss to the tune of around ₹240 crore. “At present, we have stocks to meet orders. However, the spurt in cases in Tamil Nadu is a huge cause for concern, as we depend on that State for raw materials, including coir yarn. If the arrival of raw materials is disrupted, things will come to a standstill,” he warns.

Yet to receive aid

Although coir exports have been restarted, lives of tens of thousands of coir workers in the State, especially those in the traditional and informal sectors, remain in distress.

Many of the members of the Kerala Coir Workers Welfare Fund Board are yet to get the financial aid of ₹1,000. “A large number of coir workers are cash-strapped due to a lack of working days. Both the Union and State governments should intervene to ensure the welfare of workers in the coir sector,” says, P.V. Sathyanesan, general secretary, Kerala State Coir Thozhilali Federation (AITUC).

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 11:42:08 PM |

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