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India's Coir Pith Creates a Stir in International Markets

According to preliminary figures from the Coir Board, coir and product exports increased by 9.7 percent to 62,32 tonnes, with a 17 percent increase in value. It was 3,778 crore in FY 21 with a shipment of over 11 lakh tonnes.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture of Coir Pith
Picture of Coir Pith

As a plant-growing medium, India's coir pith has proven to be the most sought-after variety in the US and European markets. As a result, coir product exports reached a new high in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, which ends in October 2021.

Coir pith shipments during the period totaled over 4 lakh tonnes at a value of 1,204 crore, compared to 3.65 lakh tonnes at a value of 978 crore in the previous fiscal's corresponding period.

Demand in Overseas Market

According to Mahadevan Pavithran, a member of the Coir Board, coir pith is in high demand in Holland, the United States, Europe, and China. It is an excellent soil conditioner and is used as a soil-free medium in agriculture. Demand is increasing in many West Asian countries as a result of its enhanced qualities.

Because of its moisture retention properties, coir pith is ideal for growing anthuriums and orchids. Home renovation during the pandemic has also increased the use of coir, according to Pavithran.

According to preliminary figures from the Coir Board, coir and product exports increased by 9.7 percent to 62,32 tonnes, with a 17 percent increase in value. It was 3,778 crore in FY 21 with a shipment of over 11 lakh tonnes.

According to official sources, coir and product exports will grow by 20-22 percent by the end of the current fiscal year.

According to Pavithran, Managing Director of Travancore Cocotuft, increased procurement of coir fibre by Chinese upholstery factories resulted in shipments of over two lakh tonnes (4.6 percent growth) valued at 365 crore.

Similarly, despite rising raw material costs, the increase in PVC-backed printed coir mats exported to the US and Europe has aided in generating forex earnings. The American consumer has rediscovered their love of using printed coir entrance mats to make a highly individualistic statement at their front door. He also attributed the increased sales to this year's heavy winter snowfall.

Pavithran, on the other hand, stated that coir mat production has shifted from Kerala to Tamil Nadu due to the availability of raw materials and cheap labour. Changing trends in international markets are also hastening this transition.

Major Hurdles

Rising freight costs and container shortages continue to make meeting export commitments difficult. This has had an impact on coir geotextiles shipments due to the significant increase in landed costs, affecting several cooperative coir sectors in Alappuzha. However, the US government's decision to allow West Coast ports to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week has alleviated congestion to some extent, allowing for smooth cargo clearance, he added.

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