Thiruvananthapuram: The fourth edition of Coir Kerala 2014, billed as the world's biggest trade event on coir and natural fibres, will be held in Alappuzha Feb 1-5, said Revenue and Coir Minister Adoor Prakash.
The Minister Monday told reporters here that the event will showcase new products and machinery designed to drive up production and exports of coir and would be inaugurated by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
"Around 160 foreign delegates from more than 46 countries and nearly 100 buyers from the country are expected to take part in the trade fair which targets export orders worth Rs.150 crore for the coir and natural fibres industry," said Prakash.
The annual event has now become a significant contributor to the increase in revenues from coir exports.
Among the country's exports in 2012-13, coir products amounted to Rs.1,166 crore, up from Rs.1,052 crore the previous year, and 70 percent of this was Kerala's contribution.
"While production and exports have seen a definite increase, our primary focus continues to be improving the lives of the workers in the coir industry and to create more employment in this sector," added Prakash.
At Coir Kerala 2014, organised with the support of the union commerce and industry ministry, there will be 250 exhibition stalls across the national and international pavilion showcasing a range of fibre products and the increasing product diversity in the industry.
Some of the newly developed products include a collection of handicrafts and souvenirs, sound-absorbing materials designed for architecture and interior designing, environment-friendly coir geo-cells that prevent slope erosion and enable slope land cultivation at the same time.
A pneumatic loom for weaving geotextiles and a revolutionary new defibering mill, developed by the National Coir Research and Management Institute (NCRMI), will also be on display.
"The meet would also see a formation of a committee consisting of exporters, policymakers and subject experts to see how the recommendations at these seminars and workshops can be put to practical use to aid product diversification," said state Coir Secretary Rani George.
She also added that the department is in talks with the Coconut Development Board to create a mechanism where farmers' societies from whom the board procures coconuts are able to supply coir fibre.