Malnad’s joni bella needs a push

Those visiting the Malnad areas of Uttara Kannada district will take every opportunity to taste the delicious ‘joni bella’ (molasses) made from sugarcane.

This unique product — manufactured in Sirsi, Siddapur and Sagar areas — has the potential to become a hit in the market, but in the absence of a streamlined process of production and promotion, it is not to be.

Joni bella being rich in iron and calcium and purely organic is good for health, said Manjunath Hegde, a farmer.

Data provided by the Kadamba Marketing Souharda Sahakari Ltd., a cooperative society in Sirsi, shows that the demand for this product is increasing by the day. The sale of joni bella is on the rise, with 1,418 cans being sold in 2011; 1,717 in 2012; 2,233 in 2013; and 2,438 in 2014, society officials said.

Mr. Hegde said if joni bella production was taken up in a systematic manner, and if the government pitched in with a scheme to conserve and promote the product, it could turn into an alternative source of income for sugarcane growers.

“It will also help check migration among youths,” he said.

“At present, the production is limited; farmers produce joni bella for domestic use and sell the surplus. There is no uniformity in technology among the farmers. While the joni bella produced by some farmers lasts long, others perish in the monsoon. We had requested the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS)-Dharwad, to conduct a study, develop a technology and set up a model unit where farmers could produce it. But our pleas were not considered. Joni bella could also be accorded the Geographical Indication tag,” he said.

The product, if promoted, could turn into an alternative source of income for sugarcane growers

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 1:41:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/malnads-joni-bella-needs-a-push/article7331425.ece

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