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* Neera (Coconut Flower Sap)                                                                  Neera Promotional Activities

Neera, the non-alcoholic and nutritious drink from the immature inflorescence of coconut tree, which can be promoted due to its potential for value addition, employment generation and better returns to the coconut farmers. The vascular sap collected from immature unopened coconut inflorescence is popularly known as “Neera” in fresh form. It is a sugar containing juice, a delicious health drink and a rich source of sugars, minerals and vitamins. It is sweet and oyster white in colour and translucent. It is tapped from the coconut inflorescence.

Uses of Neera

Neera is popular as a delicious health drink. It is good for digestion, facilitates clear urination and prevents jaundice. The nutrient-rich "sap" has low Glycemic Index (GI of only 35) and hence diabetic-friendly since very low amounts of the sugar is absorbed into the blood. It is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. Diversified Value Added Products like coconut flower syrup, jaggery and coconut palm sugar are produced from Neera.

Composition of Neera

Total solids (g/100ml) 15.2 - 19.7
pH 3.9 - 4.7
Specific gravity 1.058 - 1.077
Total sugars (g/100ml) 14.40
Original reducing sugars (g/100ml) 5.58
Total reducing sugars (g/100ml) 9.85
Total ash (g/100ml) 0.11 - 0.41
Citric acid (g/100ml) 0.50
Alpohol in % nil
Iron (g/100ml) 0.15
Phosphorus (g/100ml) 7.59
Ascorbic acid (mg/100ml) 16.30
Total protein (g/100ml) 0.23 - 0.32

* Coconut Flower Syrup

This is a product similar to coconut palm jaggery with high content of minerals. It is a rich source of potassium. It has good content of sodium and is free from total fats and cholesterol. It is produced when fresh Neera is heated and concentrated into a syrup.

Uses of coconut syrup

The product can be used for healthy food preparations, as topping on wide variety of appetizer, dessert or beverage, for delicious serving and for a healthy lifestyle. It is also used as a health drink in connection with Ayurveda and other systems of medicine.

* Coconut Palm Jaggery

The strained unfermented coconut sap is boiled, crystallized and transferred into suitable moulds to prepare jaggery. The semisolid jaggery solidifies gradually by the cooling effect of the atmosphere into a crystallized hard substance. The recovery of jaggery from syrup is 15%. It is used as a sweetening agent for the preparation of dishes and is superior to cane jaggery.

Nutritional composition of coconut palm jaggery (in 100g)

Component

Qty in mg

Thiamine

21.00

Riboflavin

432.00

Nicotinic acid

5.24

Ascorbic acid

11.00

                 Project Profile for Neera Production

* Coconut Palm Sugar

The coconut palm syrup or jaggery can be crystallized to produce fine granules of sugar. Transition of coconut jaggery into a ground granule sweetener is more accepted by global markets. The recovery of palm sugar from coconut palm jaggery is 15%. The application of this sugar is tremendous and offers huge potential owing to its most important health attributes, the low Glycemic index and the high nutrient content. It can be the most suited alternative sweetner, especially when agave sugar is being rejected owing to the high fructose content. This alternative sugar industry is estimated to be a $1.3 billion industry and hence the market prospects are enormous. It is understood that in producing countries like Indonesia, around 50,000 MT of coconut sugar is produced per month and 6 lakh MT produced per year. The product has good local market in Indonesia.

Nutritional composition of coconut palm sugar (in 100g)

Component Qty in mg
Moisture 0.06%
Protein 432 mg
Minerals 5.24 mg
Carbohydrate 11.0 mg
Calcium 18.9 mg
Phosphorous 1.9 mg
Iron 5.2 mg

Economics of production of Neera* and value added products from Neera

Assumptions  
Number of palms per hectare 175
Total number of palms tapped in a hectare limited to 80
Number of inflorescence tapped per tree per annum 3
Average productivity per ha in Kerala 7365 nuts/year
Approximate cost of one litre of Neera Rs.50
Conversion ratio from Neera to jaggery 6:1
Approximate cost of one kg of coconut palm jaggery Rs.250

*Commercialization of Neera is possible only after amendment of Abkari Act.

Estimated returns from Neera

Item Yield of Neera
Yield of Neera in Litres @1 litre/ tree/day @2 litre/ tree/day @3 litre/ tree/day
Yield of Neera from 80 palm tapped for 3 months 7200 litres 14400 litres 21600 litres
Returns from Neera @ Rs.50 per litre 3.6 lakhs 7.2 lakhs 10.8 lakhs
Returns per palm Rs.4500 Rs.9000 Rs.13500
Returns to farmer in the proportion of 75% of production 2.7 lakhs 5.4 lakhs 8.1 lakhs
Returns to tapper in the proportion of 25% of production 0.9 lakhs 1.8 lakhs 2.7 lakhs

Estimated returns from coconut palm jaggery

Item Production of Neera at
@1 litre/ tree/day @2 litre/ tree/day @3 litre/ tree/day
Yield of jaggery in kg 1200kg 2400kg 3600kg
Returns from jaggery @ Rs.250 per kg 3.0 lakhs 6.0 lakhs 9.0 lakhs

Tapping of 25% of inflorescences (3 inflorescence) in a palm for production of Neera will yield additional income to the farmer and to the tapper, without much reduction in yield. The Coconut farmer communities in the Federations of CPS can work out a viable proportion of production of Neera and jaggery so that the products can cater to defined segments of the society. Neera being a sweet and nutritious health drink can be promoted among all sections of the society. Coconut palm jaggery owing to their low Glycemic Index can be positioned as a safe and healthy alternative sweetener. If we convert jaggery further to coconut palm sugar, value addition is still better.
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Neera Promotional Activities

 

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*Coconut Oil Cake

Coconut cake is the residue left after the extraction of oil from copra which is mainly used as a cattle feed. Coconut cake contains 4-5 per cent oil which is extracted by solvent extraction process. This oil is generally used for industrial purpose and de-oiled cake is used to make mixed cattle feed. There are a few such units in the country especially in Kerala.

 

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