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  • UNDP project helps coir sector

    The coir manufacturing sector has benefited much from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiated in Kerala along with Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the Coir Board Chairman, Christy Fernandez, has said.

    He was addressing presspersons after visiting the various UNDP-assisted projects of the Coir Board in and around Alappuzha on Thursday.

    The three-year project was started in January, 2000 with a total outlay of $ 8,46,000. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), coir cooperatives and groups of stake holders had been identified as clusters for implementing the project. Alappuzha and Kollam in Kerala, Pollachi and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh and Arsikere in Karnataka are the clusters identified.

    At a time when the industry was facing difficulty due to low margins and stiff challenges in the market, the absorption of modern technology has changed the entire scene. Lowering the wages was considered to be the way for making the industry profitable, but the UNDP programme has opened up another channel by improving the productivity and increasing the wages.

    Technology transfer, modernisation and capacity building were the intended purposes behind the project. In fact, a silent revolution has taken place in many segments. By introducing the motorised ratt for spinning coir yarn, the work that used to be done by three women could be done by two now. Productivity and earning capacity have gone up in the process, he said.

    Setting up of a raw material bank by 15 persons by making use of the financial help from SIDBI and SBI is another notable contribution in the field. The individual spending could be pooled and the turnover increased to Rs 2 lakhs in a span of two months, he said.

    Training was given to 3,365 women in Alappuzha and 296 women in Kollam in the spinning method using motorised traditional ratt (MTR). As many as 24 women were trained in weaving geotextiles, 10 in semi-automatic loom and 15 in automatic coir yarn spinning machine in Kollam. A total of 4,700 women were trained in various works in the six clusters, Mr Fernandez said.

    A coir trade information centre, functioning in Kochi, would disseminate key information on the coir sector. This would provide information to NGOs on various initiatives that could be taken up. A post-graduate diploma in coir technology had been started by the Cochin University of Science and Technology and this has received good response from students. As many as 12 scholarships are being awarded by different companies. The UNDP project has helped in providing exposure to a sector hitherto remained uninitiated to new concepts.

    23 November 2002, Kochi, India

    Source: The Hindu

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