Sweet Success: Tirupur’s Thenneera Startup Revolution
It’s a happy Neera Start-up Pongal for coconut farmers in Tiruppur district of Tamil Nadu. A start-up launched by captains of the industry in the hosiery capital taps sweet nectar from coconut trees and markets it as Thenneera Coco Nectar, a natural health beverage aiming to help coconut farmers in the area earn a higher income and improve their livelihood.
Branding it as “Thenneera”, for the first time the sweet nectar or Neera from coconut trees come packed in attractive tetra packs. The start-up has also tied up with Vendolite, an automatic vending machine manufacturer, placing this in malls and public places to raise awareness and develop a market for this. This is also being exported to the US. Already the venture has made a difference to 1200 coconut farmers roped in as shareholders of Global Coconut Farmers Producers Company Ltd.
The start up has added value to the produce and has paved way for increased price for farmers’ produce. While in an average, a coconut tree gives 100 to 120 coconuts in a year this accounts for only an income of Rs 1000 a year. However a tree gives a threefold income with 2 litres of Neera everyday during inflorescence. Sivakumar a farmer tells tellmystory.in “We get double the income now. The value addition makes a huge difference”.
Talking about the potential, P K Prabhu, Director – Marketing said “Our turnover is 3 crore. There is potential to increase this fifty times”.
Fermentation of Neera would turn into Toddy, an alcoholic drink. The start up employs “Ice Box Method” to avert fermentation. “With ice box method we tap Neera at 5 degrees. In the cold room we freeze it to minus 20 degrees and preserve . The air-tight packing is done at 3 degrees and there is no fermentation and hence zero alcohol” said K Balasubramanian, Managing Director.
For many years farmers in Tamil Nadu have been urging the government to permit them to sell Toddy. While the state government has not budged, this start up has opened a new avenue to increase their income.
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