Goa to announce feni policy in assembly’s budget session

Panaji, Jan 21 (IANS) The Goa government will announce a comprehensive policy on the popular alcoholic drink feni in the coming budget session of the assembly, a senior official said on Thursday.

A proper policy will help standardise the feni industry, which annually produces about four lakh bulk litres of the country-liquor everyday, Additional Secretary (finance) Michael D’Souza said.

“Look out for the chief minister’s budget speech,” D’Souza said when asked when the policy will be announced.

He was speaking at a press conference called to announce a feni stakeholders meet on January 23.

Excise Commissioner Menino D’Souza, who was present at the press briefing, said the government was in the process of re-categorising feni as a state heritage drink, rather than a country liquor.

“As it is called country-liquor, it is difficult to sell it in neighbouring states. Since feni is a part of Goa’s heritage, we want to categorise it as a state heritage drink,” D’Souza said.

While cashew feni is distilled from juice extracted from the cashew apple, coconut feni is a distillate of fermented toddy sap that is obtained from coconut tree. Both beverages are extremely popular in Goa.

The day-long meet on Sunday will be attended by coconut and cashew farmers, officials of the excise department, feni distillers, historians as well as mixologists, who will deliberate on ways and means to popularise and develop the drink further.

The meet will also seek inputs, suggestions, ideas from all stakeholders in the feni industry for drawing the benefits of Geographical Indication and further development of cashew and coconut feni.

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