Agri Business

A sugarcane juice fair to revive interest in products, cultivation

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on March 07, 2019 Published on March 07, 2019

Liquid jaggery being sold at the sugarcane juice fair organised by the Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district

Now, the practice is rare because jaggery production and other work requires firewood and manual labour

Arecanut is a major crop in Malnad areas of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. Though many farmers from Malnad taluks such as Sirsi and Siddapur were growing sugarcane earlier for their own use (especially for preparing jaggery and other byproducts) along with arecanut, the number of such growers is coming down now.

To connect consumers with sugarcane-based products and to revive the process of sugarcane cultivation, the Sirsi-based Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS), an agri co-operative society, organised a ‘kabbina haalina mela’ (sugarcane juice fair) in Sirsi town recently.

Traditional recipes

T Ravish Hegde, General Manager of TSS, told BusinessLine that the products prepared from sugarcane juice have their own importance in the culture and recipes of Malnad taluks. Traditionally, these farmers would prepare various delicacies from sugarcane in ‘aalemane’ (a place where jaggery is prepared from sugarcane juice), which was earlier set up at growers’ places to prepare jaggery.

Now, the practice is rare because jaggery production and other work requires firewood and manual labour.

The sugarcane juice fair provided an opportunity for the consumers to buy and taste sugarcane-based products, including the ones from ‘aalemanes’.

Though there was a good demand for aalemane-based sweet products such as ‘Todedevu’ and ‘Manni’, the organisers could not meet the demand for these products. Of around 10,000 litres of sugarcane juice used in the fair, nearly 20 per cent was used for making products prepared in ‘aalemanes’, which was not set up at the fair, claimed Hegde.

Conducted between 4 pm-8 pm on February 23-24, the sugarcane juice fair attracted around 20,000 people in Sirsi.

Move for tie-ups

“Our intention is to continuously supply sugarcane juice-based products to consumers at least eight-nine months in a year,” he said, adding that the co-operative is planning to hold such fairs every year.

Hegde said such events can help TSS get into contract farming with farmers for marketing sugarcane juice and jaggery under the co-operative’s brand. “Such arrangements help ensure quality. The co-operative is planning to give technical support and timely inputs to interested farmers for quality harvest also,” he said.

Published on March 07, 2019
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