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AP gives green signal to tap Neera from coconut trees

AP gives green signal to tap Neera from coconut trees
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Rajamahendravaram: The Government of Andhra Pradesh has given green signal to farmers to tap Neera from coconut trees on the lines adopted by Kerala...

Rajamahendravaram: The Government of Andhra Pradesh has given green signal to farmers to tap Neera from coconut trees on the lines adopted by Kerala farmers.

The decision will facilitate farmers to earn extra income in the face of fluctuating coconut prices. Scientists have certified that Neera is free from alcohol. Toddy is produced only when Neera is fermented. The state government has issued orders exempting Neera from the excise department purview.

The decision to permit Neera tapping was taken in response to deputy chief minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa taking coconut farmers’ demand to the notice of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

Rajappa said the decision would augment coconut farmers’ income. Relevant technology to tap Neera would be provided to the farmers, he said and added that the government would also organize a training programme on Neera tapping.

Dr YSR University health scientist Vengaiah said that freshly tapped neera tastes sweet and has 14 to 17per cent sugar content. Neera is rich in micronutrients and beneficial to anaemia patients.

It has a very low glycemic index and hence beneficial for diabetics. Neera, in addition to having anti-cancer properties, also contains calcium, phosphorus, iron and other nutrients.

Farmers will get good of revenue even if Neera is tapped from five per cent of coconut trees in the Konaseema region. On an average, each bunch of coconuts yields not less than two litres of Neera per day.

Going by the Neera rates prevailing in Kerala, a farmer can earn at least Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 from a single tree in six months. Neera from coconut trees should be tapped in an air-tight cooling box.

It will have a shelf life up to a month if preserved in temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees. Byproducts like coconut syrup, sugar, chocolate, biscuit, jaggery etc., can be made from Neera.

Coconut sugar is beneficial to health. Technology is available for tapping, packing and bottling Neera. Some of the farmers had gone to Kerala to get trained in tapping Neera.

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