Here comes the much-awaited Cashew Fest, starting today, April 15, 2023, at DB Ground, Campal, Panjim. The two-day festival is being organised by the Goa Forest Development Corporation Limited (GFDC).
During the festival, one will get a chance to delve into the idea of the humble cashew and understand how it is boosting the state's economy and its identity.
Speaking about the Cashew Fest, partner, Madame Rosa Distillery, Cedric Vaz said, "The fest is a great initiative by the GFDC to promote the cashew fruit, which is an integral part of Goan heritage. It’s an extremely versatile fruit whose reputation and taste have crossed international borders."
"This platform will also advance the interests of local farmers and communities who are intrinsic to the cultivation and culture of the cashew fruit," added Vaz.
The two-day festival, will have debates on the innovative use of cashew as well as how well this resource can be tapped fully.
According to Goa Chapter Head of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), Prahlad Sukhtankar, the festival provides a good opportunity to highlight the versatility of the delicious tropical fruit.
“The issue is that 70 per cent of the fruit is currently getting wasted because it is not being utilised in creative ways and there is not enough demand. Therefore, farmers, who collect the fruit, do not make enough money. Literally, 70 per cent cashew fruit and niro are wasted,” he said.
NIRO ICE CREAM & MORE...
Although a cash crop, Goa has an annual output of between 20000 to 25000 tonnes as far as cashew nut production is concerned. But the catch is while nuts are always in demand, the cashew apple is often a less-used resource.
And this is just where innovative entrepreneurs like Hansel Vaz come in.
Vaz, founder of Cazulo Premium Feni in collaboration with ‘Ice Cream Man’, has been working on an ice cream made out of niro. "For us, niro ice cream is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve gone one step further and converted every Cazulo cocktail that we have into a frozen dessert too,” said Vaz, whose feni-based cocktails have been the rage over the last few years.
Sukhtankar, on the other hand, singled out a research initiative by the BITS Pilani K K Birla Goa which wants to partner with the Goa government to study how the discarded cashew fruit can be tapped for generating energy and in bakery or agriculture verticals.
"The idea of using discarded cashew fruit and pulp in generating energy or as a resource in agriculture and bakery is a commendable initiative. We urge the government to give due consideration to this proposal and take necessary steps to implement it. It is through collaborative efforts like these that we can build a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future,” Sukhtankar said.