Mumbai: Maharashtra government is looking at a proposal to use sapota (chickoo) fruits for wine making to help farmers reduce post harvest losses and generate higher returns for them.
"In a bid to offer a helping hand to the farmers cultivating sapota, particularly those from Palghar and Dahanu tehsils in Thane district, the state government is considering using this fruit for wine-making," Maharashtra Minister of State for Tribal Development and Horticulture Rajendra Gavit told reporters here.
Maharashtra Minister of State for Tribal Development and Horticulture Rajendra Gavit. File Pic
A demand to this effect had been made by the farmers in Palghar and Dahanu tehsils, where sapota is produced more than anywhere else in the state, he said.
According to Gavit, the government had already given permission to make wine from grapes and some other fruits, and the proposal for sapota fruits might be approved in a similar way.
"If the plan is brought into effect, the move would benefit around 2,500 farmers from Palghar and Dahanu initially," Gavit said adding that it could be replicated in other parts of the state later.
The Minister said there was a demand from sapota cultivators to set up a wine-manufacturing unit in the region. "However, there are problems as Dahanu falls under the eco-sensitive zone," Gavit said.
According to experts, sapota contains high sugar with high flesh-to-seed ratio and provides good raw material for wine industry. Standard quality wine could be produced from clarified juice of ripe sapota fruits and the wine industry can also be run throughout the year, as the fruits are available in all seasons, they said.