Number of distilleries on decline
BERHAMPUR: Kewra flower producers in Ganjam district are worried over the continuing closure of kewra distilleries, while the kewra flower production is on the rise.
According to the Kewra distillery owners of the district, there are some 197 kewra distilleries in Ganjam. But during 2008-09 season only 82 of them are operational. Both the kewra farmers’ association and kewra distillers’ association are worried about this trend. Lack of proper number of distilleries will also reduce the market price of kewra flowers.
Although Ganjam district of Orissa produces around 90 per cent of the kewra of the country, Orissa is yet to tap the economic prospect. The trading of kewra essence distilled from the kewra flowers is not done directly from Orissa. Traders from Uttar Pradesh rule the kewra essence trading in Orissa. The irony is that the value added products of kewra get marketed or exported via Kannauj rather than directly.
There are no units to produce the higher-end products derived from the Kewra flower extracts in Ganjam district. The flower extracts distilled out at crude distilleries in Ganjam district are sent outside the State especially to Kannauj for refining and extraction of higher-end products.
There have been efforts for establishment of a kewra cluster in Ganjam district. But it has not materialised till date. The kewra distillers of Ganjam district like Natabar Sahu feel there is a need to establish a full-fledged fragrance and flower development centre on the lines of Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC) of Kannauj in Ganjam district.
Production of higher-end products near the region of kewra flower production can lead to better market price for the producers of kewra flowers. It may be noted that during the last season, the price of kewra flowers had plummeted as several distilleries did not agree to run their units by buying flowers at higher cost. The distillers have the excuse that they are unable to pay more to the kewra growers as the price depended on the price of kewra extract fixed by the traders from Uttar Pradesh, especially the ones from Kannauj.