Good news for 'Feni' lovers: In a first, Goa's heritage drink will soon be available across India
According to Rane, making feni available in duty-free stores will allow both domestic and foreign visitors to buy the beverage, expanding its market. The GFDC chairperson also said that although many South American countries grow cashews commercially.
In a first, the Goa government is moving to make its heritage drink, feni, available across the country. "The state excise department is in the process of writing to other states to make feni available there for sale, and also to make it available at all duty-free shops. At present, you cannot sell feni in other states," Goa Forest Development Corporation (GFDC) chairperson Deviya Rane said.
According to Rane, making feni available in duty-free stores will allow both domestic and foreign visitors to buy the beverage, expanding its market. The GFDC chairperson also said that although many South American countries grow cashews commercially, they do not know the process of making feni, and are interested in learning.
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"Goa can look for ways to cash in on this," said Rane. The GFDC chairperson also revealed a startling statistic: Of the seven cashew-producing states in the country, Goa languishes at the bottom of the list.
She said that nationally, cashew production stands at 760 kg per hectare, but in Goa, it is 454 kg per hectare, putting it at the seventh and last spot among all states which produce cashew commercially - Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.
"The cashew sapling first came from Brazil to Goa through its Portuguese colonisers, and the crop was then introduced to the rest of India from Goa. Rane also said that cashew production has been going down in recent years. It is called a cash crop of Goa, but in GFDC plantations, the production is just 175 kg per hectare," said Rane.
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"We mainly have rural wo- men working in the cashew production industry in Goa. If the sale of feni increases, then the industry will grow, and demand will increase. Once de- mand takes earnings up, it will provide livelihood to more rural women," said Rane.
She added that India currently supplies 36 percent of the world's cashew nut demand, and Goa has the opportunity to increase its portion of this market. According to GFDC managing director Saurabh Kumar, although Goa has the necessary agro-climatic conditions and business possibilities, production is declining.