The first coir factory was set up in India in 1859 in Alappuzha, Kerala. It became, and for long remained, the nerve centre of coir industry in the country. But a shortage of raw materials is now impacting the trade. Industry-owners are using jute from West Bengal, and the infrastructure and skilled workers of Kerala, to make jute mats. The workers in Kerala are the last generation that possesses this skill.
V. Sasikumar is a Thiruvananthapuram-based filmmaker who focuses on rural, social and cultural issues. This film was made as a part of his 2015 PARI fellowship.Other stories by V. Sasikumar