Kochi, Dec 11 (UNI) Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Mahabir Prasad today said the traditional coir industry should give due importance to research and development (R and D) to manufacture innovative coir and related products.
Addressing a gathering at the valedictory function of the India International Coir Fair-2007 here, he said ''there is a strong need to widen the base of coir commodities manufactured, which will have value growth in the sector.'' He said the Ministry was concerned with the slow progress of domestic growth and had chalked out different schemes to support the coir industry.
''The Rs 25 crore modernisation and technology upgradation programme for the coir industry, the Mahila Coir Yojana, market development assistance for cooperatives and public sector undertakings for the promotion of sales, assistance for export and domestic market promotion are some of the schemes meant for the sector,'' the Minister said.
Mr Prasad said greater integration with the world market had posed numerous challenges and threats for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which were of greater magnitude than faced by the large business houses.
However, the small firms were showing impressive growth, creating value and additional employment opportunities propelled by fresh investments in basic industries, he noted.
The Minister noted that the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector had submitted a report on 'Financing of Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector' to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh detailing the need for reorienting priorities to help the SME sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Kerala Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the Government, as part of its initiative to set up heritage villages for tourists, would open two coir villages in Alappuzha and Kollam. A handloom village had been opened in Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram district.
In a bid to promote traditional products among foreign tourists, the Government had initiated steps to produce 120 traditional souvenirs in handloom with the help of artisans, he said.
Coir Board Chairman A C Jose said around 120 buyers from different parts of the world participated in the five-day Fair.
The Fair witnessed the participation of manufacturers, exporters, technology and machinery providers who presented a select range of innovative coir products like coir door mats, matting, carpets, rugs, rubberised coir mattresses, needled felt and geo-textiles.