A co-operative bank run by the CPI(M) in Kannur sought permission from the Left government in Kerala on Wednesday to produce Feni out of cashew-fruits. The Payyavur co-operative bank approached the state Health Minister and co-operative joint registrar with this unusual request.
Cashew Feni was recently declared a Goan heritage drink, and is the first liquor in the country to obtain the (Geographical Indication) GI status. By virtue of its GI tag, the only liquor that is extracted from cashew apples in Goa can be called Feni.
CPI(M) area committee member M Joshi who also serves as the president of the bank believes that this new venture can help farmers tide over the financial crisis brought about by routine crop failure.
â€śThey get very low prices for their products. This is apart from the routine failure of crops. This could hence provide a viable alternativeâ€ť Joshi told The News Minute.
According to him, 14,000 litres of Feni can be distilled out of 420 tonnes of cashew fruits, which could translate into a profit of around Rs 4 lakh: â€śThis can also provide jobs to hundreds of labourers. We actually do not make use of the cashew fruit at all. Tonnes of these fruits simply go waste in plantations.â€ť
The plan submitted by the bank suggests that the produced Feni should be sold through state beverages corporation outlets.
â€śIf the project comes to fruition, farmers will get equal rates for cashew-nuts and cashew-fruits. We have conducted discussions with officials in this regard,â€ť Joshi adds.
Till 1996, most of the country-arrack produced in Kerala was made from the cashew-fruit. But when arrack was banned, production stopped in 1996. Joshi however insists that the Feni they intend to produce, is in no way related to arrack.