New-generation tech for coir-sector modernisation: Rajeeve

Minister for Industries and Coir P. Rajeeve has said that the government planned to modernise the coir sector through mechanisation by adopting new-generation technologies. Diversification to introduce new value-added products in the market are also on the cards.

The government’s two-pronged strategy also involved protecting the livelihood and wages of workers, he told the Assembly on Thursday, replying to a calling attention motion raised by P.P. Chitharanjan.

Package sought

The CPI(M) legislator sought a special revitalisation package for the crisis-ridden coir sector that has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pointing out that the sector’s prospects depended on achieving self-sufficiency in coir fibre production, Mr. Rajeeve said the State could generate only 2.5% of the coir fibre required in 2015-16. The efforts of the previous government had ensured that 32% of the requirement could be met locally.

This was largely due to the increase in difibering mills in the State. During 2011-2015, the State had 50 defibering mills that could process 1,000-4,000 coconut husks daily. By 2020, the number of mills had increased by 124, he informed the Assembly.

Coir geotextile

According to him, coir geotextile projects offered market for the coir produced in Kerala. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Coir Development Development had joined hands with various institutions for a ₹121-crore coir geotextile programme. However, the disruption to the MGNREGS work following the pandemic posed hurdles to the implementation of the programme.

Welfare fund

The government recently sanctioned ₹24 crore, including unutilised funds amounting to ₹11 crore sanctioned last year, through the Coir Workers Welfare Fund Board to provide ₹1,000 to each of its members. Among its various interventions to boost the sector, the government had also decided to procure products worth ₹10 crore through the Coir Corporation. The Coirfed would also procure coir from the stock available with coir cooperatives, Mr. Rajeeve said.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 10:31:37 PM |

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