Coir industry seeks central government’s intervention

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In the wake of the rupee’s appreciation against the US dollar, the Indian coir and coir products exports industry sustained a loss of Rs 56.62 crore between April and October this year. The net unit value loss was pegged at Rs 5,352.69 by the board when compared to the unit value of Rs 37,649.57 last year, as against the unit value realisation this year of Rs 32,296.88.

“The coir industry was in a crisis-like situation. Coir exporters met their orders despite the adverse conditions. If the rupee appreciation continued, coir exporters feared that they might be forced to shut down business,” said Coir Board Chairman AC Jose in a letter to Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath. The board sought sector-specific sops for the industry and the minister’s intervention to tackle out the crisis.

Between April and October this year, the exports were valued at Rs 340.59 crore (US $87 million). During the same period last year, coir exports were estimated at Rs.331.15 crore (US $77 million). The board felt that without an appreciating rupee, earnings would have been higher at Rs 397.21 crore.

The loss has resulted from the lower unit value realisation for coir products for the period under review this year, compared to the same period in 2006. The letter said that there was considerable loss of employment generation due to the appreciation of the rupee and the subsequent losses.

The chairman drew the attention of the Union minister to sectors such as plantation, marine products, garments, and fruits and vegetables, which sought aid in the wake of declining exports. The sectors had less “import intensity and greater labour propensity.”

Jose said the coir industry with its rural base and with women dominating the highly labour-intensive industry had been left out of the considerations. The industry was also highly export-centric. The coir industry, with its low unit value realisation, was also vulnerable and was a “greatly unfunded sector,” said Jose in his letter.

– Bengaluru Bureau

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