The Mahua drink is reportedly so delicious that Felix Padel, a visiting professor of anthropology at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) is of the opinion that ‘scotch and wine could face a tough competition in India if local varieties like mahua… are made available in their unadulterated form.’ This popularity and love for the Mahua among enthusiasts hints to the potential of business around the Mahua tree, that can help:
i. increase incomes of tribals;
ii. popularize Mahua drinks among and give legal access to the general public;
iii. set quality standards for Mahua beverage, and;
iv. combat deforestation.
~ By Natalia P Hule : https://nataliaphule.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/mahua-for-livelihoods/
The idea that wines based out of Mahua flowers could be a viable business opportunity, a potential to have a wine rooted in India compete with wines around the world, increase sustainable income for tribals, and combat deforestation at the same time — is surely an exciting one.
A perfect case for a social-entrepreneurship business that i am interested in launching.
In my quick googling i found papers published on the topic of wine-making with Mahua, specifically this one titled “Mahua Wine Preparation: Effect of Location of variety, temperature of fermentation and additives on the Physico-Chemical and Sensory Qualities” by Dr. Neelima Garg.
In her conclusion, Natalia P Hule, points out that:
…the Govt. of India is trying to promote “Wines of India” and Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority has been entrusted to develop a strategy. The suggestion for large scale commercial production of tribal Mahua wine, under the auspices of a Farmer Producer Company, finds resonance with the policy of the Government of India with regards to wine. The implementation of this idea needs further elaboration without a doubt. Currently, FPCs are not known to do big business in India. FPCs for local brews like Mahua liquor, rice beer, guava wines, etc can change this scenario. If successful, the tribal belt will see great growth of income and our traditional brews will make it to the tables of the well-heeled.
Leaving wine-making to a government body or to FPCs is not a viable answer to achieve either of the the objectives of “promoting Wines of India” or use Mahua wines as a means to promote tribal income generation. In my free-markets worldview, and just as is the case with rural education being transformed by small privately run schools, if Mahua wines have to achieve their potential the it has to be led by several privately run businesses.