Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu donned the role of management guru and gave away tips to toddy tappers.

Using the jargon of toddy tappers richly, Mr. Naidu shared his views on marketing of neera. The toddy tappers toil day and night. But, they are not aware how to sell their produce. A sap extracted from inflorescence of palm trees before sunrise it is known as neera. And, the same liquid if tapped in the noon it is called as kallu (toddy).

The ‘neera’ (sweet toddy or palm nectar) has a very good medicinal properties. The drink is fast becoming popular on account of its highly nutritive value, delicious taste and agreeable flavour. The demand for neera is high in towns and cities. There is nothing like if the toddy tappers can bank on the USP (unique selling proposition) of ‘neera’, he said.

But, the problem is: ‘neera’ is highly susceptible to natural fermentation at ambient temperature within a few hours of extraction from palms. Once fermented, it transforms to toddy. You guzzle at the whiff of toddy. And, you get kaipu (intoxication). “Is it right,” he asked the crowd to give a bit of zing.

To tide over the problem and extend the shelf life of neera, Mr. Naidu said preservation techniques were required. The Telugu Desam has plans to set up chilling centres in the district so that the neera could be preserved for long time, he said.

When a person tries to speak to him, Mr. Naidu said, “I will not speak to you unless you have a ‘moku’ (thick rope worn around the waist to climb the trees).”