Goa’s popular cashew-based alcoholic beverage, Feni, can change the state’s rural economy significantly, if the product is allowed to be exported.
A plea has again been made by some Goa politicians to the central government to allow export of Feni, a popular alcoholic drink unique to Goa.
Currently, Feni production is largely confined to the unorganized sector, although a few major players market the sparkling spirit which is affordable and strong.
A BJP lawmaker, Divye Rane, suggested to the state assembly that cashew-based Feni, if allowed to be exported, could be a game-changer and lead to the uprising of many of farmers. Cashew farmers could benefit if Feni marketing was promoted both nationally and internationally.
Feni obtained the GI label in 2009 and in 2016 the state government recognized it as a heritage drink. The drink containing up to 45% alcohol is extremely popular and tourists visiting Goa rarely forget to bring back a bottle of Feni as a souvenir.
Normally served at room temperature, locals claim that Feni can cure toothaches, swellings and ulcers. Feni has a distinct and strong flavor, which makes it possible to mix smoother drinks.
Currently, 80% of cashew apples are wasted, as Feni is produced from the nut. If cashew apples could be used to make Feni, it would give a big boost to the rural economy, growers say.