The fox nuts or makhana are eaten in the dried form usually in India. These are cultivated in the Mithila regions of Bihar and Nepal. In April 2022 it received a Geographical Indication from the Government of India by Piyush Goyal. It is considered one of the three prestigious cultural identities of Mithila.
Fox nuts consists of proteins and fibers, along with micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.
The seeds of makhana are cultivated where their temperature is too high therefore the seed explodes and becomes snacks called popcorn. It has low cholesterol, fat, and sodium so it is helpful in losing ideal weight. So, it is quite often used on festivals for preparing kheer and sabzi. Its high amount of iron, and potassium helps in the cognitive functions of our brain. People who are suffering from hyperglycemia are advised to consume them as it helps in controlling blood sugar levels.
3)MAJOR MARKETING DISTRICTS IN INDIA–
Districts like Darbhanga, Purnia, Madhubani, and Katihar are the leading producers. The method used is traditional, and the pond system is very cumbersome. It requires intensive labor. Mostly the fishermen community is generally engaged in the makhana sector.
4)MAKHANA MARKETING CHANNELS–
Farmer> Aggregator>Processor>Wholesaler>Retailer> Consumer
Mostly smaller the chain, the greater the profit but due to the increase in the no. of intermediaries in the channel decreases its efficiency. Another is the lack of presence of makhana machinery.
Steps to increase efficiency–
- Mechanizing the makhana processing- this helps in improving the time taken to finish and the quality.
- ⦁ Makhana’s grading- It further betters the cost so that it will fetch better prizes for all stakeholders.
- ⦁Registration of Geographical Indication (GI)- Manufacturers are protected here when we talk in terms of the Indian subcontinent.
- ⦁Branding of Makhana’s- when makhana products like Pop-corn and other value-added products are added with appropriate advertising, it improves the demand and visibility of the product, creating a kind of comfort among consumers, and hence it is a plus point for the company as well.
In today’s generation perception plays an important role in the minds of consumers. Not only they are aware but are conscious of the game, so the brand name and its value might change the game.
Earlier the brands did not focus on the product’s packaging, they used to sell it in gunny or polythene bags which is one of the reasons that the makhanas became stale and were no longer pleasant for the consumers, which had a negative impact on the minds of the consumers about its quality and brand. But with time a change in the packaging methods and improvement in the retail, as well as the wholesale market, improved the conditions of the makhana producers.
Packaging for the wholesale market:
In the final stage, lotus seeds or makhanas are packed for different weighing capacities like eight kgs, ten kgs, and twelve kgs. In Bihar, the makhana is produced and packaged, and from there it is further transported to different states likes Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, etc., but with a sturdy transport so that the quality of those products is not compromised.
Packaging for the retail market:
The makhana products are packaged in moisture-free plastic bags that help in maintaining the quality of fox nuts in the long run. Earlier all the packaging steps were done manually but after the domination of industrialization, all the grading, filling in bags, weighing, labeling, and packaging are done through machines and this is primarily practiced by all the wholesale producers. Every country has its own guidelines for food packaging and so are different brands in India.
6)USE OF MAKKHANA IN EVERYDAY LIFE–
Fox nuts is widely consumed across India. Some of the popular dishes made out of makhana are Palak recipe, raita, aloo tiki, kheer, moong fali kadhai recipe, aloo sabzi, chirongi, and kheer, etc.