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Technology can push growth of coir industry: Chandy

The adoption of modern practices and technologies is essential for the survival and growth of traditional industries such as coir, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Monday.

Chandy was speaking at the inauguration of the Advanced Centre for Automated Microbial Characterisation at the National Coir Research Management Institute (NCRMI) in the state capital.

"The coir sector, which provides employment for lakhs of people, is facing challenges on multiple fronts including critical shortage of raw material. New technologies, such as the automated system that NCRMI has introduced, can help resolve issues with production and quality that must be addressed to make Kerala coir competitive in the global market," Chandy said.

State Minister for Revenue and Coir Adoor Prakash said research at the new facility at NCRMI will focus on softening coir fibres to improve their quality and to make them more versatile.

"Coir will not be the only industry benefiting from this laboratory. We have plans to extend R&D (research and development) activities at this centre to benefit other sectors, particularly agriculture," Prakash said.

The new facility has been set up at NCRMI to enhance research and development activities in the coir sector across Kerala and to equip it to face growing competition.

This first-of-its-kind laboratory enables automated identification and characterisation of the micro organisms as the current technology used for the purpose is time consuming and laborious.