BERHAMPUR,ODISHA: Increase in cost of production and their lack of bargaining power during marketing of their produce has started to worry the kewra distilleries in Gnajam district.
Four coastal blocks of Ganjam district boast of producing 90 per cent of economically viable Kewra flowers in the country. The essential oil extracted from the Kewra flowers at the local traditional distilleries has market throughout the country and abroad.
There are around 250 kewra distilleries in Ganjam district. But the extraction of this essential oil is a costly affair. This year the distillers are buying kewra flowers at an average Rs. 9 per piece. Only 30 to 40 grams of essential oil is extracted from 1000 flowers. On an average around 35,000 flowers have to be distilled to get one liter of essential oil extract called rooh.
These traditional distilleries are still using firewood for the distillation process. Steep hike in the cost of firewood during past one year has hiked the production cost of kewra distilleries. Ganjam district lacks the kind of firewood needed for these distilleries. It is got from Puri district. About a year back its price was Rs. 220 per quintal. Now it has reached 310 rupees per quintal. Natabar Sahu, owner of a distillery alleged that the state forest corporation is yet to make any arrangement for getting fire wood for the distilleries in Ganjam district at affordable rate.
On an average the production cost of each liter of rooh or essential oil is more than 2.50 lakh rupees.
But the distillers usually do not have much bargaining power when they sell this costly produce.
The distillers are yet to unite to form an association to fix the price of their produce. They depend on traders from Delhi, Kanauj, Mumbai, Agra etc for the marketing of their produce as Odisha is yet to have any scope for sell of this costly product and there is no industry here for its value addition. Mr Sahu said the distillers usually have
little bargaining power while selling off their produce to the traders coming from outside the state.