Neera-making firms now switch to making oil

KOCHI: After a the failure of a much hyped effort to promote neera, a non-alcoholic drink extracted from coconut palm, companies in the business to produce neera switched focus to make coconut oil that saw a runaway rise in prices in the last one year.

In a first of its kind of initiative in the country, 29 coconut producer companies in the state comprising 4 lakh farmers are planning to launch a common brand of coconut oil. Currently, many of them are marketing their own brands of coconut oil without much success due to rampant supply of adulterated products sold cheaply.

“By launching a common brand, we can share the marketing costs which may run to crores and also rein in adulteration to an extent,’’ said P Vinod Kumar, chairman of the consortium of coconut producer companies in Kerala.

The idea is to introduce the product by Onam festival season late August.