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  • Govt to chalk out plan to implement GI on feni

    Apr 28th, 2015

    Five years after Geographical Indication (GI) for feni was obtained in February 2009, the government has now begun chalking out a plan to implement GI to avail of benefits like higher revenue to local producers, control on spurious production of feni and a boost on export. The validity of GI for feni expires in 2019, and the Goa government will not be able to derive any further benefits unless it is renewed. Though five years have been lost, the excise department is frantically trying to locate and engage feni experts to collect inputs to standardize production of feni and its development. A government committee, constituted in September last year under the chairmanship of commissioner of excise Menino D'Souza, will shortly have its second meeting. The committee was constituted to draw the benefits of GI, formulate guidelines and offer advice over the development of feni. D'Souza told TOI that they can't enjoy the benefits of GI in the real sense unless it is implemented, and that they have initiated the process. "We want to hire the services of consultants but a decision will be taken after the government's approval," said D'Souza, who recently laid his hands on a case study on feni conducted by a researcher, Dwijen Rangnekar, with Warwick University, UK. The department will be getting in touch with Rangnekar seeking permission to use his work. The GI for feni is jointly owned by the department of science, technology and environment and Goa cashew feni distillers and bottlers' association. Mac Vaz, president of Goa cashew feni distillers and bottlers association, said getting GI was the most important step and his stand over consistently pursing GI for feni stands vindicated as Goa's neigbouring states have now started extracting juice from cashew apples. The GI has stamped that feni belongs to Goa and other states can't lay claim to it, he added. He said that they market feni as a country liquor made in India from Goa, and it's doing well. The excise commissioner said that to ensure the right quality of feni is available in the market, they have to have ensure strict quality control. The food and drugs administration (FDA) will need a better laboratory for the purpose than its existing one, said D'Souza. Until two years ago, some traders had labels on feni bottles sold by them that claimed the spirit was over 10 to 12 years old. The department stopped them as there was no proof that the feni was left to mature for so many years. "Where was the proof? It was cheating," D'Souza said.