Prospects of Big Returns Draw Youngsters in State to Production of Neera
By Byju Aryad | Published: 22nd September 2014 06:06 AM |
KOCHI: The production of Neera has become a big hit in the State, with more and more youths getting attracted to it due to the high revenues and the huge demand for the product.
Though the production of Neera is yet to become full-fledged there are instances wherein the business generated up to `55,000 a month.
At present, there are around seven lakh farmers either involved in the production of Neera, or getting trained in it.
The Coconut Development Board (CDB), which is one of the implementing agencies for the production of Neera, has been providing training to those who are willing to take up the new initiative.
Full-fledged Neera production is yet to materialise as the majority of those who run the business are yet to install the machinery and equipment required for production.
CDB chairman T K Jose said that those who have started the production of Neera had been making good profit.
Tom Thomas, a farmer from Palakkad, was able to earn `55,000 a month through Neera tapping. He said that he has been tapping Neera from 17 trees, with each tree providing on average of four litres of juice per day. He pointed out that he used to get only `400 per month when a coconut tree was given for toddy tapping. “But, an average of `1,800 can be made every month from a tree if two litres of Neera is tapped. It can be considered as a monthly salary for farmers as it will be a regular income,” Tom added.
“There are around 251 federations in the State which are into the Neera production, with each of them having nearly one lakh coconut trees for tapping. At present, there are around 250 lakh coconut trees marked for tapping, which will be increased when the storing facilities improves,” Jose said.
Though Neera is extracted in the similar way as toddy is tapped, the juice is not allowed to ferment. It is stored in 7-8 degree celsius before processed.
The technology developed by the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) is currently being used for the process. The processing site is set up close to where the tapping is done as it is difficult to maintain the temperature during transportation. Now, licences have been issued to 16 companies for the production of Neera. Production has started in the Palakkad, Kollam and Kannur districts, where the product is being sold as juice.
Palakkad Coconut Producer Company Ltd chairman Vinod Kumar P said that the company was one of the establishments that started production of Neera. Now, Neera is distributed as juice through 10 outlets in the State.
In Palakkad, the company has proposed to tap 1,500 coconut trees, and now tapping has started in 350 trees. Around 1,000 litres of Neera juice is produced daily from the Palakkad district.
“It is proposed to complete the formalities for tapping Neera from all the 1,500 trees by mid October. As per the plan, 6,000 litres of Neera will be produced every day,” Vinod said. “Bottled Neera will be made available, after processing, by December this year. There are also plans to introduce pet bottles,” he added.