Not so sweet anymore: Sales turn sour for Neera coconut vendors in Pune
Roadside stalls selling Neera coconut water in PuneImage source: The Bridge Chronicle

Not so sweet anymore: Sales turn sour for Neera coconut vendors in Pune

Neera water sales drop drastically in Pune with some shops still reeling under COVID-19 threat

Pune: Summers are cruel, aren’t they? Stepping out in the hot sun is worrisome these days. As we are in March, mercury is soaring high in Pune. The solution to beat the heat is to keep yourself hydrated.

There are multiple drinks available in the market to stay hydrated. However, it is vital to drink something that keeps the glucose level in your body intact.

Thankfully, nature has blessed us with enough wonders to battle this harsh season, and Neera happens to be one such magical drink.

Neera, a natural drink tapped from coconut trees, generally makes a buzz around the summer in Pune, is hard hit by the pandemic this year. Every year during summer, the sale of Neera is 2,500-3,000 litre per day, but this year it has gone down to 1,500 litres per day. Of the 386 Neera outlets, 40-50 per cent are still closed.

The COVID-19 spread and the lockdown have dwindled the business. One of the Neera vendors in the city said, “Summer is the best time for us as this is the season where we make most of the business. Unfortunately, this year the COVID has hit badly. Neera is not a packaged drink it needs to be served fresh thus we cannot store it also.”

Enterprises have called for more broad-based financial support from the government for the business. Ramesh Bhandari of Neera Utpadak Cooperative Society said, “There are good opportunities for this business. There is two-acre land reserved for tree planting at Supe near Baramati. It will be a great help if the government provides about an additional 20 acre of land for planting trees. The government should also consider allowing subsidy.”

WHAT IS NEERA

Neera is the sap extracted from coconut inflorescence. When fermented, this coconut Neera becomes coconut toddy. Coconut neera is usually collected before sunrise, as the fermentation of the Neera starts once the temperature rises. The drink is oyster white and is accumulated in earthen pots and then strained before drinking it.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF NEERA

· Neera acts as a hangover cure.

· The drink does not affect people suffering from diabetes.

· Neera is a catalyst for battling obesity and other cardiovascular diseases.

· It has plentiful amounts of minerals such as zinc, iron, potassium and magnesium.

· Neera is the best natural detox drink.

· Having wrinkles, dark spots or signs of ageing, Neera is the ultimate solution for you.

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The Bridge Chronicle
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