PANAJI: Pointing out that Goan cashew Feni is special and unique in nature and needs to be preserved as heritage drink, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said that Feni has a lot of useful qualities, especially its medicinal value due to which it can be used to cure a number of ailments.
Parsekar was speaking as chief guest at the first stakeholders’ meet for the development of Feni organised by department of excise in collaboration with The Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association and All Goa Toddy Tappers Association at Taleigao.
Parsekar said that though the government had acquired GI status for Feni in 2009, no further work was done for its development adding, “We have missed the bus in promoting Feni to outsiders and cashing in on its popularity with tourists. Both coconut and cashew Feni are not mere liquors and the cashew and coconut trees are part of our culture.”
Nature tourism wherein tourists could see cashew plucking and the process of making Feni was one of his suggestions for boosting the drink. Several distillers present at the meeting urged the government to come out with rules on distillation process and ensure that they are obeyed. Spurious Feni in the market and adulteration in quality were some of the issues raised by participants.
The stakeholders’ meet had Mumbai-based Shatbhi Basu, writer and Mixologist, in her keynote address, calling for joint efforts to project the drink as spirit of Goa. Most of the countries in the world have established their ownership over the liquor produced by them and the same can be done in Goa with the cooperation of the stakeholders, said Basu.
Gaspar Afonso, a member of Toddy Tappers Association, Michael D’Souza, additional secretary (finance), Benjamin Silva, Velim MLA, Narahari Haldankar, distillers, officials of excise department were among those who attended the meeting.
Commissioner of excise Menino de Souza said that the stakeholders meeting would be followed by a Feni Policy. The function was compered by Pradip Naik while president of Goa Cashew Feni Distillers Association Mac Vaz proposed the vote of thanks.
Earlier in the meeting, a panel discussion was held on the heritage value of Feni. Panelists said that Feni was drunk by all class of people since early days and must never be referred to as ‘poor man’s drink. Panelists pointed out that a lot of women were involved in the production of the drink and Feni was integral part of everyday life of Goans in the past.