West Bengal’s winter delicacy exported for the first time since 1904
Joynagar Moa, a GI-tagged winter delicacy of West Bengal, was on Wednesday exported abroad for the first time in over a century. Authorities said if the export to Bahrain is successful, more consignments would follow. Talks are also being finalised to export the highly perishable product to Italy and Canada.
“This is for the first time Joynagar Moa is being exported since it was introduced in 1904. As of now, we are exporting only 45 kilos of Moa, along with 105 kilos of Patali Gur [date palm jaggery], another winter delicacy,” said Joynagar Moa Nirmankari Society secretary Ashok Kumar Kayal.
The delicacy obtained the GI tag in 2014 and only around 25 manufacturers from Joynagar block in South 24 Parganas district, around 50km south of Kolkata, are authorised to prepare the product. GI tag signifies a product has a specific geographical origin and enjoys a reputation because of it.
Kanakchur Khoi (fried aromatic paddy), nolen gur (molasses), ghee, khoya kheer, cardamom, raisins, and cashew nuts, among others, are used to prepare the delicacy.
“It [export] is a trial run. Normally, the shelf life of moa is five days. But we are sending them in special boxes packed in dry ice. If we find that it can be stored for at least 9-10 days, more consignments would follow to European and American countries later this month and in the coming month,” said Sandeep Saha, regional in-charge of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
As of now, the manufacturers have tied up with two exporters through APEDA. Talks are being held with more exporters.
Even though the markets of Bengal are flooded with Joynagar Moa and almost every neighbourhood shop sells the product around this time of the year, manufacturers said that they have tied up with only a select few outlets of certain sweet shops in Kolkata and elsewhere in the country to sell the product. Only these outlets are authorised to sell the authentic GI-tagged moa.
“Each moa would cost you around ₹30. We have come up with packets containing six pieces which are sold at ₹150. A kilo would cost ₹500,” said Kayal.
According to the GI Journal of November 2014, Ashutosh Das, a resident of Joynagar, first prepared the moa in 1904.