KSCDC may brew cashew liquor

Steps to set up manufacturing unit is in final stages with approvals expected

The Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation’s (KSCDC) long-drawn efforts to set up a cashew liquor manufacturing unit is in final stages and the project is expected to go on floors soon, say officials.

The corporation had been trying to get the sanction for brewing home-grown feni and market it as a premium alcoholic beverage for several years.

“There were many hurdles, including restrictions, in producing or selling cashew liquor in any State other than Goa. But the new policy of the Centre and State promotes value-added agricultural products and the situation has changed. We are expecting approvals from all departments concerned, including the excise, soon. The KSCDC will be the first public sector company to come up with such a project,” says Chairman S. Jayamohan.

Since Kerala is a State with high per capita alcohol consumption, the cashew-based alcoholic beverage is expected to get good acceptance. As per a feasibility report prepared by Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation Ltd., the main objectives of the project include revival of the cashew sector in Kerala, employment generation, and supporting cashew farmers.

The KSCDC is planning to convert its cashew factory at Vadakara with a land area of nearly three acres into a manufacturing unit. “Kannur and Kasaragod districts collectively contribute more than 65% of the total cashew cultivation area in the State and it was decided to establish the unit at a nearby place with required infrastructure,” adds Mr.Jayamohan.

The plant capacity of the ₹13-crore project will be three lakh litres per annum and the product will be sold as one litre bottles.

At present, around eight States, including Kerala, are into commercial cultivation of cashew and a considerable number of farmers depend on the crop.

In most parts, only the kernel is considered saleable and a negligible per cent of the cashew apple production is exploited. The KSCDC is procuring cashew apple directly from farmers for its value-added products, including soda, jam, and juice.

“We usually don’t get enough raw material to meet the demand and this year we have already started an intensive procurement drive. During the last few years, the corporation and the Kerala State Agency for the expansion of Cashew Cultivation (KSACC) had distributed lakhs of saplings and soon there will be a notable difference in domestic production too,” says Mr.Jaymohan.

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