The first round of auction of cashew zones for 2017 season received modest response from Feni distillers with few buyers coming forward in the first round. Of the 1,662 zones, the distillers bid for 138 zones, fetching the excise department Rs 8.26 lakh in revenue.
The second round of auction is scheduled for February 15-16 in North Goa and February 22-23 in South Goa in which the department expects a better response, said a senior official.
The official said that few buyers came forward in the first round due to lack of estimate of cashew crop. “Distillers are uncertain of the crop prospects and have not come forward to bid,” he said. The second round of auction could see a better response due to improved market prospects of Feni, he added. Local market for Feni is low and distillers are holding back from increasing production.
However, the government is trying to boost the market for Feni within the state and outside on the back of GI registration received for the drink. The effort is on to promote Feni as a heritage drink of Goa.
Revenues from cashew zone auctions have been stagnant over the years with Rs 34.58 lakh collected in 2014, Rs 31.94 lakh in 2015 and Rs 32.23 lakh in 2016.
The excise department auctions cashew zones every season. Traders who are into brewing Feni from cashew apples take the zones on auction. There are 1662 zones in 11 talukas of Bardez (95), Bicholim (171), Pernem (131), Sattari (671), Tiswadi (63), Canacona (105), Quepem (98), Mormugao (32), Ponda (131), Sanguem (150) and Salcete (15).
The response to the auctions is always mild in the first and second rounds after which the excise department is forced to put up the unsold zones on tender. More than half of the remaining zones are disposed of in the third phase when the price quoted by buyers is low. Unauctioned cashew zones are expected to be disposed of in the third round when the excise department calls for tenders.
Cashew zone auctions are delayed this year because of the elections. They are usually completed by February. Response to the auctions also depends on the quality of cashew crop and in 2016 the cashew crop was poor.