Coir industry is one of the major traditional industries in the State and second only to agriculture in terms of employment. It provides employment to around 4 lakh persons, of which 84% are women. With 10.05 lakh hectares under coconut cultivation, this accounts for 45% of the net cropped area in the State.
The Coir industry in the State is mainly concentrated in the regions of Alappuzha, Kayamkulam, Chirayinkeezhu, Kollam, North Parur, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Kannur, Ponnani and Vaikom. Handloom mats, Tufted mats, Power loom mat, Coir fibre, Coir pith, Rubberized coir and Coir geo textiles, Handloom matting and Coir yarn are the major items of export.
Export of Coir and Coir products from India during the period 2006-07 recorded an all time high with impressive increase in both quantity and value. In value terms, the coir exports stood at Rs.605.17 crores attaining 19% growth in value by exporting 1.69 lakh ton of Coir Products. The increase recorded in quantity was 32728 ton and in value it is Rs.96.72 crores.
The number of countries importing coir and coir products from India increased to 97 from 91 last year. U.S.A, U.K, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Belgium are the major markets for coir products. Among these, United States continues to be the single largest market accounting for 37% of the total export and European countries together imported more than 41%. U.S.A stands first with regard to import of major share of handloom mats, tufted mats, coir geo textiles and power loom mat. The biggest market for coir yarn and coir pith is Netherlands and for coir handloom marketing UK stands first.