In a sign of growing interest in Indian-made coir and natural fibre products worldwide, 15 countries are representing for the first time at Coir Kerala, the annual international expo, which began in Alappuzha today.
The fifth edition of the event has attracted more than 170 buyers from 53 nations, recording its biggest foreign participation ever. Delegates from 39 countries attended last year as against 35 and 32 in the preceeding two years.
Coir Kerala has been steadily growing in popularity globally as a platform for showcasing new products and exploring business opportunities.
The event is becoming a significant contributor to the annual increase in revenues from coir exports. In 2013-14, total coir exports from India were worth around Rs 1,476 crore, up from Rs 1,116 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1,052 crore in 2011-12. This edition of Coir Kerala is targeting export orders worth Rs 200 crore, said Adoor Prakash, minister for Revenue and Coir.
Africa and Latin America, which represent a vast potential market for coir and allied products manufactured in India, are well represented at Coir Kerala. Delegates from more than 10 African countries, including Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt have registered for the event this year. Buyers from Angola, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are arriving for the first time.
Ecuador joins Brazil and Columbia among the Latin American countries representing at the event, while buyers from Turkey, one of the global hubs for carpet industry, are visiting for the first time.
Large delegations have also arrived from the US, Russia, China and European countries, which have traditionally been the stronger markets for Kerala’s coir.
The buyer-seller meet, one of the most crucial programmes of Coir Kerala which facilitates direct interactions between coir producers and foreign and domestic buyers, will take place on Tuesday, February 3. Apart from foreign delegates the fair has attracted around 300 buyers from around India. Thousands of coir workers in an around Alappuzha and cooperative societies across the state are also participating.
The trade exhibition is being held across an international pavilion with around 130 stalls featuring export-oriented products showcased exclusively for registered delegates and a national pavilion with 175 stalls, which is open to the public.
It was in 2011, that the Government of Kerala initiated the Coir Kerala programme to revitalise the coir sector, by boosting production and exports. Coir Kerala, which is held during the peak tourism season is also turning into an event deserving a spot on Kerala’s tourism calendar.