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Goa: coconuts, cashew and Tourism

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Finally, Goa appears to have given its indigenous coconuts and cashew nuts their due.

In a bid to attract domestic tourists during offseason, Goa’s tourism ministry last week conducted the inaugural edition of the ‘Coconut and Cashew Festival’, showcasing the two products and simultaneously making a popular statement about just how integral the nuts have been to Goa’s socio-cultural and economic history.

The festival was organised along with a dash of music, entertainment and other innovative food and drinks inspired by coconuts and cashews.


“Goa is famous for coconuts and cashews and value added products manufactured from the nuts. Cashew feni (a local drink sourced from fermented and distilled cashew juice), urrak (a milder version of feni) and coconut feni and other items have been presented in an attractive way to get the attention of tourists,” Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar told IANS after inaugurating the event in Panaji.

Coconut palms, which often provide for an idyllic backdrop to beach holiday selfies and Instagram uploads, are to tropical Goa what perhaps camels are to desert regions: indispensable.

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The tender potassium-rich coconut itself is a great thirst quencher after a swim and mature coconut pulp is the most singular ingredient which defines Goan cuisine, whether it’s fish curry, xacuti (a rich, spicy coconut-based meat gravy), vegetable preparations and sweatmeats.

Its reputation as a kalpataru (a divine tree with multiple uses) in Goa stems from the fact that its tall, sturdy and durable stem is used in roof beams, while its leaves, when woven together, are used as water-resistant screens and roof thatch. It’s sap, if used fresh, serves as a natural yeast and when fermented is known as coconut feni, which is unique to Goa.

Cashew was introduced to Goa from Brazil by the Portuguese, who had colonised both the regions. While the nut is a common dry fruit snack, its fruit juice distillate is referred to as cashew feni.

“Both the coconut and the cashew are extremely important for every Goan. We wanted to showcase their multiple uses to the world. This was the first time we organized this event and were very happy that tourists came in large numbers. We are optimistic of turning it into an annual event,” Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar told IANS.

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The festival also featured workshops on climbing coconut trees, demonstrations of feni distillation, handicrafts made from coconut and cashew and even cooking workshops.

Such festivals according to Parsekar, would help Goa attract more domestic tourists during off-season (April-September), when foreign tourists arrivals are rare.

“These days there are not many foreigners, but there are domestic tourists who come to Goa. Such festivals are organised keeping the taste of the domestic tourists in mind,” Parsekar said.

Goa attracts three million tourists annually, of whom half a million are foreigners. (IANS)

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Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau
Taazakhabar News Bureau is a team of seasoned journalists led by Neeraj Mahajan. Trusted by millions readers worldwide.


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