Agri Business

Kerala eyes production of its own Feni brand from cashew apple

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on November 16, 2020

Move part of Kerala Cashew Development Corp’s diversification plans to support cashew sector that’s reeling under severe losses

Keralites will soon get a taste of their own brand of Feni, the local spirit of Goa.

State-owned Kerala Cashew Development Corporation is gearing up to produce liquor from cashew apple. It has submitted a detailed project report to the government and the State Excise Department.

The ₹13-crore project will come up at Thalassery where the Corporation owns a greenfield plant with production capacity of three lakh litres per annum, a top official in KSCDC told BusinessLine.

Also read: Plantation Corporation of Kerala rolls out new soft drink from cashew fruit

The company plans to source cashew apples from farmer cooperatives in other cashew-growing states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Maharashtra to make Feni.

“KSCDC intends to position Feni as a premium alcoholic beverage at an affordable price vis-a-vis the existing IMFL. Initially, the company is looking at Kerala as the main market and will take it later to other south Indian states,” the official said.

“Once the regulatory clearance is obtained, the project will go on stream in the next fiscal. Feni is expected to bring in an additional revenue of ₹100 crore to the corporation’s kitty within two years,” he said, adding that the project would help generate job opportunities to 50 people.

The ₹200-crore KSCDC is already in the market with many value-added products from cashew such as jams, juices, and chocolates, among others. Plans are also afoot to introduce cashew apple flavour ice cream, he added.

Also read: Cashew takes root in non-traditional areas to help meet growing demand

Kerala produces around two lakh tonnes of cashew apples, of which 85,000 tonnes now go waste without any use. This could be avoided with Feni production. Around 25 kg of cashew apples is required to make one litre of Feni. KSCDC also plans to procure cashew apples from farmers at a cost of ₹3 per kg, he said.

The project, according to the official, is part of the diversification plans to support the cashew sector which is reeling under severe losses in the State. The highly labour-intensive sector has turned out to be a sunset industry because of high operating costs, forcing more than 800 units to down its shutters.

Several production units have shifted their base to neighbouring states due to cheap labour. The raw material availability is also posing problems, as the sector has to depend on the international market and season. Since 85 per cent of the raw material is imported, price fluctuations in the overseas markets often impact production, he added.

Published on November 16, 2020

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