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Monday, August 06, 2001

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APITCO study outlines scope for coir trade in Andaman

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Aug. 5

A STUDY conducted by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (APITCO) on behalf of the Coir Board has identified the potential for establishing coir-based industrial activities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The study had indicated the scope for estalishing eight coir-based industrial activities in the Islands comprising 50 units with an investment outlay of Rs 6.9 crore in eight zones of Andaman and Nicobar districts, Coir Board sources told Business Line.

For the systematic development of coir industry in the Islands, the study had recommended the formation of a State-level committee at the Director of Industries level and establishment of a State-level coir federation apart from continuation of transport /interest/power subsidy. Besides, its recommendations included launching of programmes for awareness creation, entrepreneurship development and establishment of joint ventures.

The coconut production in the Islands was estimated at 87.50 million nuts and 75 per cent of it came from Nicobar islands, the sources said. The inadequate inter Island transportation and transportation facilities to main land were the major bottlenecks for the development of the industry. There was no proper husk collection mechanism there. Labour scarcity, low entrepreneurship among the local people, comparatively high labour cost, scattered and hilly areas of plantation which rendered collection and distribution of coconut husk for industrial purpose difficult were other limitations in developing coir industry in Andaman.

According to the study, production of coir fibre at present was insignificant in the Islands and their present requirements were met by supplies from the main land. There was no production of coir yarn either manually or mechanically and the local requir ement of this product was also met from supplies from the mainland, they said.

APITCO, which was assigned to conduct the study and prepare a techno-economic feasibility study, had submitted its report to the board recently. The Chairman of the Coir Board had already taken up the matter with the Union Territory authorities and the d evelopment agencies as SIDBI, Nabard and NSIC etc and the commercial banks.

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