Rs.15 crore set aside in budget

Neera, the nutritious, non alcoholic beverage obtained by tapping coconut palm, may soon be available off the shelf in Kerala. In his budget presentation on Friday, Finance Minister K.M. Mani outlined a Rs.15-crore project to establish Neera manufacturing units in 10 districts.

“The proposed units will utilise the technology developed by the Kerala Agricultural University to make the drink in preserved form.”

Mr. Mani said the government would take up a district-level project to replant coconut trees with the help of the Coconut Development Board. He said the coconut procurement scheme through Krishi Bhavans would be carried over to the next financial year.

The budget had allocated a total of Rs.75 crore for coconut development.

He announced a series of programmes to be taken up under the Kuttanad package for soil and water conservation in Kuttanad, Upper Kuttanad, and Onattukara. As many as 240 tanks and 1,000 wells would be restored and rainwater reservoirs installed.

The project also included planting of vetiver to check soil erosion and distribution of fruit tree saplings and medicinal herbs to farmers.