Agri Business

Covid-19 impact: Neera sales may dip as Kerala clamps down on gatherings

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 11, 2020

Curbs on public gatherings in Kerala amid the coronavirus outbreak may prove dear for the makers of neera, a non-alcoholic beverage made of palm nectar, who are anticipating a dip in sales in the coming days.

Neera is a popular thirst-quencher among large floating populations. The clampdown on community gatherings is likely to restrict the movement of people, dampening sales in outlets, particularly at bus stands, railway stations, etc. “In the emerging situation, we are thinking of a production cut to minimise the loss to producer companies,” said P Vinod Kumar, Chairman, Consortium of Coconut Producer Companies (CPCs).

He cited the example of sales plunging post demonetisation at the Vytilla Mobility Hub outlet here. “We took more than a year to recoup the losses then,” he recalled. Sales in that particular outlet, which had a daily turnover of ₹25,000, tumbled by 90 per cent, he said.

Kerala produces 5,000 litres of neera through nine CPCs with an estimated value of ₹10 lakh per day. The sale is carried out on a seasonal basis beginning November and ending May, mainly catering to Sabarimala pilgrims. Currently, it is sold as an over-the-counter product and the Consortium is looking at introducing a new packaging technology (ascetic packaging) to increase its shelf-life, he said.

Kerala Financial Corporation has submitted a revival package for CPCs. This includes the adoption of a new packaging technology and a common brand for neera similar to Milma (Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation), and the setting up of coir defibering units and other related products. As many as five CPCs will be covered under the revival package in the first phase and the remaining will be considered in subsequent phases based on the viability of individual units.

Published on March 11, 2020

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