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 Blended coir yarn carry bags to hit jute bags



 KOCHI, November 8, 2007: Carry bags made of blended coir, developed by the Central Coir  Research Institute (CCRI), could give jute bags a run for their money when the new product hits the market. CCRI, which has been working on blended yarn, has successfully developed a blended product using 80% coir and 20% sisal fibre. Since products made of coir have a rough finish, the institute has been trying to blend it with other fibres to make diversified products. 
  According to CCRI director U S Sarma, the coir-sisal blended product is softer and has more tensile strength. A number of products can be fashioned from the blended product, he says.  Carry bags, folders, caps are some of the products from the new yarn might be on display in the India International Coir Fair to be held in Kochi in December. Of all the products, Mr. Sarma is betting on carry bags from blended coir to become popular, mainly because it can replace the plastic carry bags which are being banned because of pollution problems. 
  “Carry bag from blended coir can carry more weight than an ordinary jute bag. Unlike jute, it doesn’t lose its properties after becoming wet,”  Dr Sarma said. The softer finish can also appeal to people. The problem faced by CCRI now is the cost of production. A carry bag will cost around Rs 100 when produced using the traditional spinning and weaving method. 
   A worker makes around 8 kg of blended yarn a day in the present set-up. The blended yarn will have more length than the ordinary coir one. To bring the cost down, the productivity would have to be raised. CCRI is in the process of developing a semi-automatic loom to increase spinning productivity without cutting employment opportunities. 
  CCRI is now using a new method of using bacterial cocktail to ret the extracted fibres from a green coconut husk. This prevents pollution of the environment caused by soaking husks in water and gives better quality of coir at a slightly extra cost of 30 paise per kg. The National Research Development has already allotted a grant of Rs 2 lakh to Coir Board for 20 co-operative societies for buying the equipment, to popularise the method. 
   COIR Board in association with SBT is providing Rs 35,000 loan each to 400 coir workers to improve their working conditions, reports Our Bureau from Kochi. Of the total amount, 25% will be offered as subsidy by the Coir Board. This will be distributed at a function shortly. Board chairman AC Jose said Rs 25,000 is for the work shed, Rs 5,000 for buying motorised 
ratt and the remaining amount for working capital. 
  The loan carries 4% interest with a repayment period of seven years. To begin with, the loan will be given to 100 coir workers, majority of whom are women, in Kanjikuzhi, Kayamkulam, Cherthala and Thuravur. 



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