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									                                    Income and Employment Generation in the
Biodiversity Conservation           Household Coir Spinning and Allied Sectors
                                    through    Resource    Conservation   and
                                    Appropriate Processing Technologies

Project Site: Vayalar-              Coir spinning is the dominant income generating activity for over
Panchayat, Pattanakkad-             45% of the households in Vayalar Panchayat and in another 2-3
Block, Alappuzha District,          Panchayats within the Pattanakkad Block. This activity is
Kerala.                             concentrated in households with women forming the work force.
Geographical                        Each household spinning unit is handled by two women with
Area       : 14.5            indirect support by one male member for procurement of raw
Population: 24,216                  material and marketing of the coir yarn.
Male       : 11,717                 Although coconut is the major crop produced in Vayalar and in all
Female     : 12,499                 other Panchayats within Pattanakkad Block, coconut fibre, the raw
Literacy : 83.37%                   material for spinning, is not produced locally. As a consequence, the
                                    coir spinning sector depends on the supply sources in the
Total Budget: US$120,000            neighbouring states where the production of coir fibre from coconut
SGP Grant : US$30,000               husk has developed on a commercial scale. However, such
Co-finance : US$90,000              dependence causes frequent dislocation of the spinning in the
                                    household units as a result of the uncertainty often experienced in
Implementing-                       the regular availability of fibre.
Agency: Vayalar Fibre Mills
       Pattanakkad-P.O.             In the traditional spinning sector, apart from the irregular
       Cherthala-688 531.           availability of raw material, the women workers are exposed to
                                    arduous manual labour with low product output and daily income of
Ph: 0478-2595564, 2592237           less than Rs.50 per worker. Although less hazardous and
Mob: 9447159564, 9249966615         technologically efficient spinning wheels capable of saving time and          energy and doubling the daily income earned earlier are presently        available, they are yet to become accessible to majority of the
                                    household spinning units.
                                    To obviate the existing problems hindering the growth of the coir
                                    spinning sector a strategic intervention has been made as part of the
                                    SGP project ‘Promoting Coconut-Based Agro-Ecosystem and
                                    Efficient Product Utilization for Augmenting On-Farm Income,
                                    Improving Quality of Environment and Conserving Natural
                                    Resources’ by a 10-member self-help-group ‘Vayalar Fibre Mills’.
                                    The SHG receives guidance and support from Peekay Tree Crops
                                    Development Foundation.
                                    *To establish one coconut husk defibring plant for producing coir
                                    fiber in the Vayalar Panchayat.
                                    *To link one coir pith composting unit with the defibring plant.
                                    *To provide technologically efficient coir spinning wheels in place
                                    of the manually operated traditional ones to women workers in the
                                    different Panchayats within Pattanakkad Block.
                                    *To promote community owned coir spinning units.
                                    *To establish manufacturing units for producing coir geo textiles,
                                    mats and matting and other value-added coir products.
                                    *To promote one company with the household coir spinning units as
                                    members to handle the procurement and supply of raw material,
                                    buyback of spun coir yarn, production of value-added coir products
                                    and organized marketing.
Key Activities and Outcomes:
Establishment of Coir Fiber Mill:
One fully mechanized coir fiber mill has been established under the
aegis of a 10-member SHG with daily capacity to crush 25,000
coconut husks producing an average output of 1,750 kg of coir fiber.
The required quantity of husks is made available by about 26,000
households of Vayalar and nearby Panchayats at an average price of
Rs.0.35 per piece. The daily production of fibre satisfies the daily
requirement of 58 household spinning units providing full time
employment for 116 women and part-time engagement for 56 men.
Apart from this, 20 women and five men are directly getting
employed in the fiber mill.
Linking Coir Pith Composting Unit:
The average output of coir pith from the fibre mill is around 4,000
kg in a working day. On composting, this could yield up to about
two tonnes of valuable organic manure. Ten percent of the daily
output of coir pith is presently converted into compost and the
balance is disposed of for diverse uses. The processing and
marketing of the compost are organized under the aegis of an 11-
member women’s SHG after imparting training in the processing
technology through Coir Board. Commensurate with the demand for
coir pith compost in the different Panchayats for use as manure and
soil ameliorant, increasing quantities of pith will be processed.
Empowering Women in the Household Spinning Sector:
In the household spinning sector 270 households (HHs) have been
supplied with improved spinning wheels in place of less efficient
and manually operated ones. This has benefited 540 women workers
through higher product output and increased daily income of Rs.80-
100 in place of Rs.50 earned earlier with the traditional wheels. The
working women are now free from drudgery and are availing
increased time for household chores.
All the 270 HHs (540 women and 270 men) are now share holders
of the Coir Fibre Mill after having contributed US$7.5 each towards
share capital. Another 100 HHs will also be supplied with improved
spinning wheels shortly and offered shares of US$7.5 each. With
this740 women and 370 men will hold total shares worth US$2,775
in the Coir Fibre Mill.
Impacts (as on 31st August 2008):
Additional income for about 26,000 HHs through the sale of coconut
husk for crushing.
Local availability of coir fibre for spinning is facilitated.
Environmental problems associated with the accumulation of coir
pith are addressed through the conversion of the material into
valuable compost.
Regular work and higher income ensured for 370 household
spinning units comprising 740 women and 370 men.
370 households share ownership of the Coir Fibre Mill.
Government Departments promoting coir industry in the state are
showcasing the Coir Fibre Mill as model for replication.
Partnerships Created:
Active partnerships have been created with the local Panchayats,
Coir Board, Coir Directorate of Kerala Government, Alappuzha
Coir Cluster Development Society, and CAPART. From these
partners an amount of US$60,000 could be accessed as co-finance
till the close of August 2008.

Activities in the Offing:
Steps are in progress for establishing one production unit for coir
geotextiles, mats and matting and other value added coir-based
Preliminary arrangements are made for registering one
society/company by giving membership to household spinning units
for procurement and supply of raw material for spinning,
undertaking organized marketing of coir yarn and other value added
products and promotion of SHGs in the coir spinning and processing

MoEF       UNDP              GEF         UNOPS          CEE

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