PANAJI: Excise department expects its 1,524 cashew zones spread across 11 talukas to have more takers once cashew distillers start getting benefits out of Geographical Indication (GI) registration of feni. Distilling, being a labour intensive job, has seen the number of people bidding for cashew zones dropping.
On an average, 20 % of the zones remain unbidden for every season.
Since the first auction of the season in December 2016, as much as 138 cashew zones have been bidden for, while the second auction is slated for the next week.
An excise official said they will float a tender for zones that have remain unbidden for, during auctions in the first and second phases. "Even after the tendering is over, some zones will not be taken. It has been a trend during the last few years," he said. The high cost of distilling is the main reason why increasing number of cashew zones remain unbidden for in the last few years.
The distillers, he said, needs to find persons to collect cashew apples from which feni is distilled in an exhaustive process.
"The scene, however, will change once the distillers start getting a better price for their product," an officer said, adding the process of introducing standards for feni is underway.
He said the distillers will be in a better position to demand for a better price, once there is labelling and certification of feni, and help curtail the sale of substandard feni.
Last year, the excise department expedited the process of certification of feni. A legislation was passed in the Goa legislative assembly to change labelling of feni to remove its tag as a country liquor. Feni was renamed as 'heritage spirit' to facilitate its sale in other parts of the country.