Kalraj Mishra, Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), has called upon entrepreneurs in the coir sector to make use of schemes available for the MSME sector to enhance their productivity and move up the value chain.
“There are a whole lot of schemes — for technology upgradation, quality improvement — which can be of benefit to entrepreneurs working in this sector. The Coir Board should use this opportunity to disseminate information about its own schemes and others implemented by the MSME Ministry,” he said at the inaugural event of India International Coir Fair (IICF) 2016.
The fourth edition of this four-day expo (July 15 to 18) got off to a bright start at the Codissia Trade Fair Complex here.
The minister urged the participants to research and work on emerging fields such as coir geotextiles, coir wood, coir upholstery and padding material, coir insulation, coir furniture and horticulture to meet the demands of tomorrow.
Apart from being environment friendly, this sector has high employment potential as it is labour intensive and with larger participation of women. To impart skills relevant to the sector, the ministry has a programme Livelihood Business Incubators (LBIs) under the ASPIRE scheme.
The board has set up 3 LBIs at Thanjavur, Rajamundary and Bhubaneswar under this scheme, Mishra observed, adding that he expected more such centres to come up in other parts of the country.
To meet the needs of entrepreneurs and associated workers, schemes such as Coir Vikas Yojana, Coir Udyami Yojana and Coir S&T Yojana are available, but intervention was not limited to these schemes, he said.
Hailing the sector’s performance on the export front, he said “coir products are being exported to 115 countries. Exports have grown 17 per cent in volume and 20 per cent in value in 2015-16 compared to the earlier fiscal.”
“But a point of concern is the stagnation in production in the past few years. While coordination to enhance productivity and coverage of coconut plantations is essential, we should also try to minimise coir wastage,” the minister said.
The Board Chairman C P Radhakrishnan said he hoped to double coir products exports in three years by making in-roads into coir geo textiles and by the use of coir wood in making railway coaches (with support from the respective ministries).
The event witnessed the launch of coir products such as the coir chess board and chess coins — the latter in fibre glass mould — coir silk yoga mats, coir injection-moulded chairs, coir tuft boards and coir wall panels, among others