Alappuzha: As many as 170 foreign buyers from 53 countries would take part in the “Coir Kerala 2015”, marking an unprecedented increase in the level of buyers, Minister for Revenue and Coir Adoor Prakash said.
The fifth edition of the world’s biggest annual trade event on coir and natural fibres will begin in Alappuzha on February one, he said.
The five-day event will bring together scientists, researchers and policy-makers to discuss strategies and new projects to create jobs, improve the conditions of workers, increase productivity and earnings across the industry, Prakesh said.
In 2013-14, coir exports were worth around Rs 1,476 crore, up from Rs 1,116 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1,052 crore in 2011-12. Kerala is looking to increase export of coir products to Rs 2,500 crore by 2016-17, he said.
Being a platform for producers and exporters in the state to explore marketing opportunities around the globe, the international event will also see an interesting line up of innovative coir products and machineries.
“While the Centre has extended a financial assistance of Rs 1.75 crore for the conduct of the event, the state government will provide Rs 2 crore, he said.
“Under the income support scheme, the government has paid Rs 150 of the minimum wage in the first phase to coir workers and Rs 210 in the second phase. Now the minimum wage has been increased to Rs 300,” he added.
Latin American and African nations are sending maximum number of delegations to Coir Kerala 2015.
Apart from foreign buyers, the fair will also have participation of around 300 domestic buyers. Thousands of coir workers in an around Alappuzha will also participate in the event.
There will also be a general exhibition featuring 275 exhibitors of which 50 are from outside the state.
Coir Kerala 2015 will also see the introduction of modern coir products and machineries designed by the National Coir Research and Management Institute to improve productivity in the sector, he said.