The state government continues to be obsessed with new ways of producing alcohol.
After announcing that it would encourage distilleries that produce liquor from food grain, and that it was toying with the idea of producing liquor from cashew fruit, jamun and chickoo, the state is now exploring the possibility of wine from wild berries.
These reddish-green berries, commonly known as karwanda, are found in the Konkan region in Maharashtra in abundance. “We will look at the possibility of making wine from them [wild berries]. If the venture is found to be feasible, we will even fund it,” said Water Resources Minister Ajit Pawar at the Legislative Council on Monday.
Pawar said if the project takes off, the state will contribute 10 per cent to it.
He said in Nashik, where making wine from grapes is huge business, the industry is making losses with barrels of wine remaining unsold in wineries.
“Areas like Konkan do not have processing industries. That will have to be looked at,” Pawar said.
The minister was replying to a question raised by Congress Member of Legislative Council, Rajan Teli, who asked if there was any plan to make wine out of berries.
Teli said Konkan produces about 50,000 tones of wild berries annually and a majority of the produce is wasted.
The legislator estimates wine from these berries can attract business worth Rs 35 crore to Rs 38 crore.
Last week, the government said it would explore the possibility of make wine from cashew fruit, jamun and chickoo. Earlier, the government had said it would give subsidies to distilleries producing alcohol from food grain. The decision, however, was met with large scale opposition following which the state said it would not issue licences to new distilleries.