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Jaggery to get brand name in Bengal's Bankura

30,000 people are involved in jaggery making in Bankura, including date palm juice collectors

By Abhijeet Chatterjee in Bankura

  • Published 3.01.19, 1:22 AM
  • Updated 3.01.19, 1:22 AM
A worker climbs a date palm tree to collect its juice
A worker climbs a date palm tree to collect its juice Picture by Rupesh Khan

The Bankura district administration has taken up an initiative to bring date palm juice collectors and jaggery producers under cooperative societies and fixed a brand name for the jaggery — Bankurar khejur gur — to help them sell the product directly to customers without the involvement of middlemen.

Bankura district magistrate Uma Shankar S. said the branded jaggery would be sold from the cooperatives.

Sources said the district administration wanted to promote the Bankurar khejur gur (Bankura’s date palm jaggery) brand on the lines of mihidana in Burdwan town and curd in Nadia’s Nabadwip.

The DM has formed a committee comprising district officials to launch the programme. The committee has already visited some villages in Shimplipal in the Jungle Mahal, an area known for date palm jaggery, and discussed the matter with people involved in the business.

According to the sources, altogether 30,000 people are involved in the jaggery making, including date palm juice collectors.

“We will form cooperative societies with the people involved in jaggery making to bring them under one roof. We have also plans to produce the jaggery centrally in the district after collecting juice through different cooperative societies to maintain quality,” said a district official.

Presently, the date palm jaggery producers sell their product between Rs 60 and Rs 70 per kg to middlemen. The middlemen sell the same jaggery between Rs 90 and Rs 120 per kilogram in the market and sometimes, at much higher price at shopping malls in towns and cities after packaging.

The sources said a section of dishonest traders sold adulterated jaggery in the market by mixing sugarcane juice or sugar with date palm juice.

The Jungle Mahal and villages along the Dwarakeswar river, on the outskirts of Bankura town, are known locations of production of date palm juice and jaggery.

One of the jaggery producers in the district, Mohammad Jalaluddin of Kotulkpur, said if the district administration helped them brand and sell the product, it would increase their income. “Presently, we are forced to sell jaggery at cheap price to middlemen as we do not have access to sell the product directly in the market or shopping malls. It will be better if the administration helps us sell it directly to customers with a brand name.”

Jaggery being made at Balarampur in Bankura district
Jaggery being made at Balarampur in Bankura district Picture by Rupesh Khan