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Bengal's Famous 'Joynagarer Moa' Is Facing Export Delays Due to Modern Packaging

Image for representation. Credits: Instagram/@soumi_niyogi.

Image for representation. Credits: Instagram/@soumi_niyogi.

Despite being a quintessential winter delicacy, authentic Joynagarer Moas cannot be sent to other parts of the state and the country in large quantity due to its very low shelf-life of just five days.

Joynagarer Moa, a seasonal Bengali sweetmeat delicacy which was accorded a Geographical Indication tag, still cannot be exported to other states in a big way due to an "inordinate delay" in installation of modern packaging infrastructure, an official said on Sunday.

The project has been delayed by over 18 months "irking" the Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board, the official said. This popular sweet, produced in Joynagar 1 and Joynagar 11 blocks of South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, is prepared from date palm jaggery and "Kankachur khoi", a rare variety of puffed rice, giving it a special flavour and taste.

Despite being a quintessential winter delicacy, authentic Joynagarer Moas cannot be sent to other parts of the state and the country in large quantity due to its very low shelf-life of just five days. But modern packaging machines can increase the shelf- life of the sweet to at least 25 days which will help in marketing the special product to distant locations, the official said.

The project for installing modern packaging machinery was moved and decided by Alapan Bandyopadyaya, the present chief secretary, after receiving technical advice from the Institute of Packaging, the official said. Bandopadhyay was then the MSME secretary.

The state board had tendered and issued work order long back for installation of the Rs 1.41 crore set up but it could not be completed due to lack of a ready building and a common facility centre for manufacturers, he said.

"We were responsible for the plant and machinery for the Rs 1.41 crore packaging installation. We had even issued work order but even after over 18 months we are yet to get a CSC with ready building for the installation.

"The local administration has to be little more active in resolving issues, if any," an WBKVIB official told PTI.

Joynagar Moa Nirmankari Society secretary Ashok Kumar Kayal said, in January 2019 Nimta Ramkrihna Mission had agreed to give land and offered nearly 2 acres but nothing has progressed since then.

Sources indicated that there had been "some politics" in shifting the projects from Joynager block-I to block II which is "delaying the execution".

Meanwhile, the Joynagar Moa Nirmankari Society has decided to tie-up with leading sweetshop chains and stores to supply approved GI tag Joynager Moa in tamper-proof sealed containers.

"From December 1, all major sweet shops like K C Das, Felu Modak, Ganguram, Mithai will keep original Moa from 20- odd authorised makers under the GI guidelines.

"This will help local consumers to differentiate real Joynager Moas with the ordinary ones, made with cheaper ingredients, that are available during the season in the city," the society said.