The current 2016-2017 data conveys that apart from the home consumption, the total export of safety matches from India is 1357.13 containers and the global market includes the USA, Europe, Japan, China, South East Asia and African countries. The development of safety matches industry in India had an ideal growth conditions. With around a century of constant efforts, India claims as one of the best safety manufacturing countries in India. According to the industrial handbook of Indian Government, 4782.18 million match boxes were produced in 2008-09.
South Indian Centres
Apart from the home market, Indian trade volume is immense because of the easy availability of raw materials, cheap labor and transportation facilities. India’s major safety matches production is contributed by the South Indian companies at three major centres – Sivakasi, Sattur and Kovilpatti.
With the initiatives and foresight of a few enthusiastic entrepreneurs like Mr. P. Iyya Nadar and Mr. A. Shanmuga Nadar of Sivakasi, these areas emerged to contend in the international safety match market, in quality as well as price. The first production unit was set up in 1922 and the industry gained huge momentum in the decade of 1950-60 that 90% of the manufacturing, other than WIMCO, was contributed by the units in Sivakasi and the surrounding areas.
A huge upsurge in revenue from the South Indian safety matches company encouraged the government to outlay plans for the industry in the first 3 five year plans, which helped the companies to ensure steady progress that the industry became absolutely self-reliant in 60 years to meet out the entire local needs. The semi-automatic or hand-made safety match factories in the South India as a whole increased their share from 50% (1968) to 82% (in 1984).
The Virudhunagar district continues to dominate the industry and often remembered as the ‘Match kings of South India’ because of their virtual monopoly for more than 2/3rd in the industry. The massive relief in the excise duties to the small scale, cottage, Khadi and Village industries was reaped by these makers. However, they safely ignited the kitchens of the entire Virudhunagar district, which has an unfavorable climate for agriculture. Increased employment to the local people is definitely a boon to the dejected drought prone area.
Raw material Production
Besides the match factories, these areas started to improve in providing the raw materials like splints, veneers, chlorate, rosin, sulfur, was, manganese, glass powder, potassium bichromate, phosphorous, black carbon, copper sulfate, gelatine, tapioca flour, antimony, kraft paper, glue, fuel and packing materials.
In the competing economy, WIMCO turned to be the direct subsidiary company of ITC, since September 29th 2011. In the competing economy, the WIMCO turned to be the direct subsidiary company of ITC, since September 29th 2011. Today, the reign South Indian match factories assures that their technology is quite efficient as equivalent to ITC that they focus on automated process, reduction in energy consumption, usage of renewable energy sources, etc., to compete with the International Standards.
Apex Matches Consortium is one of the South Indian companies that has more than a decade of experience in the production and export of safety matches.