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    Kerala loses Neera to Karnataka

    KOCHI: After being caught in the red tape for long, the much-hyped project to tap Neera (Coconut Sap) is about to see the light of the day. But the land of coconuts has missed the bus and the opportunity has gone to Karnataka.The Coconut Development Board (CDB) has approved a project worth Rs 1.15 crore to start a Neera demonstration unit under the Karnataka Horticulture Department. The Coconut Development Board will contribute 25 per cent of the project cost.The demand to tap Neera has been going on for almost a decade with various farmers’ organisations and toddy tappers demanding it as a means to generate productive employment in the coconut industry. On an average, about 2-3 litres of Neera can be generated from a single coconut palm.This is estimated to bring in an annual income of Rs 60,000 for a coconut farmer having one acre of land. These aspects were taken into consideration while sanctioning the project, the CDB said in a press statement.Under the current project, a demonstration unit for packaging and marketing the coconut palm sap will be set up at the Horticultural Farm at Thumba.The DFRL and the CFTRI, Mysore, have already developed the technology that could preserve Neera for a period of three days to six months. The low-fat Neera can also be utilised to make honey, powderised sweet toddy, sweets and ice creams.