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Friday, August 17, 2001

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Good scope for rubberised coir

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Aug. 16

DESPITE volume and freight-related constraints, a good scope is seen for rubberised coir industry both within and outside the country. Concerted efforts promoting its eco-friendly and bio-degradable advantages could create additional markets for the prod uct.

During Apr-May 2001, exports of rubberised coir stood at 44 tonnes valued at Rs 43.34 lakh as against 60 tonnes valued at Rs 38.41 lakh during the same period last fiscal, industry sources told Business Line.

Even in domestic marekts, the usage of the product other than in coir mattresses, such as cushions, automobile seats, airconditioner filters and packing pads, could boost the market scope of the product.

Another major segment of the market which had been ignored by and large was the rural market. There was a considerable demand for `janata' mattresses among the rural poor in Northern India, the sources said.

But shift in consumer preferences towards eco-friendly coir mattresses had also led to large-scale duplication, they claimed. Hence, coir mattresses should essentially come with `eco' mark. Besides the Governments must reduce the cost burden by exempting coir products, including rubberised coir mattresses, from the purview of levies such as sales tax and excise, they felt.

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