‘Neera’ sales picking up in Thoothukudi district; farmers look for more support from State government

A man tapping ‘neera’ on a palmyrah tree at Anthoniyarpuram near Thoothukudi on Sunday.
| Photo Credit: N. RAJESH

With the summer season picking up, the sales of ‘neera’ (padaneer) in many parts of Thoothukudi district have started looking upwards, said palm tree growers in the district on Sunday.

From February 15 to August 15, the season picks up and despite lack of rainfall in 2022, the sales of ‘padaneer’ and palm jaggery were encouraging. Though the rainfall was not as expected during the latter part of 2022, the farmers are hopeful of getting a good yield this season too.

The district, which has a little over 10,000 workers dependent directly on palm trees, has started taking ‘neera’ from the trees in Thoothukudi, Tiruchendur, Sattankulam, Udangudi, Kulathur and Vilathikulam.

According to palm tree growers in Tiruchendur, on an average, a worker may climb about 10 trees and take 20 litres of neera and each litre would fetch him around ₹ 90. In habitations such as Soosaipandiapuram and Sirupadu, many youngsters have evinced interest and are directly harvesting the produce.

In pockets such as Sattankulam, some palmyra workers used climbing machines to draw neera from the trees. Though the Tamil Nadu government provided containers for preserving the neera, farmers looked for subsidy and also wanted the government to introduce new gadgets, which were light in weight to handle by even aged climbers.

The production of palm jaggery (karupatti) too looked bright for the farmers and was expected to fetch good price from the markets during this season. Last year, the palm jaggery was sold at ₹ 1,000 per 10 kg, while it may double this season in the wholesale market up to ₹ 2000 (per 10 kg). With both the quality and yield looking good, the palm tree growers have very little grievance and expected more support from the government. The retail markets were also looking good for the palm jaggery, where the price may revolve around ₹ 300 per kg, farmers said.

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