Excerpts from a fellow’s diary – My Experiences at Jawhar

Ms. Geeta Verghese, Coordinator SBI YFI with Shri. Mavanji Pawar and his family at their home in Jawhar, Maharashtra.
Ms. Geeta Verghese, Coordinator SBI YFI with Shri. Mavanji Pawar and his family at their home in Jawhar, Maharashtra.

After spending almost a month at BAIF’s campus in Pune, interacting with some veterans in the field of rural development and attending numerous lectures on the subject, I was very excited to go to the real field and correlate the things which I had become aware of during the orientation sessions. Initially while in the process of selecting the project for the fellowship, I had a preconceived agenda to work on supply chain of mango & cashew in Jawhar area of Thane district. On my first day at Jawhar, I visited a village along with a field worker, to understand the dynamics of cashew collection as it was the cashew season at that time. On the way back, we stopped at one of the WADI (orchards of cashew & Mangoes) in Chowk village. The field worker took me to a hut built inside the WADI. There was no one inside but to my surprise it was very well organized, with some earthen pots filled with rice grains and some banners explaining about organic agriculture. Out of curiosity, I asked the worker accompanying me to explain the things to me. We had to wait there for some time before he finally came. He was a young man and during the interaction he willingly answered all my queries. I came to know about the basic technicalities and economics of agriculture which I was unaware of before, he also explained about the indigenous seeds and the need for sustainable agriculture in a very comprehensive manner, which motivated me to take up a project in indigenous agriculture. Subsequently, we talked about his personal life and how he had reached this level. To my surprise, he was only 25 years of age and his name was MAVANJI PAWAR. He had worked in a chemical factory in Silvassa from the age of 15, and continued working there till he was 20. But because of recurring health problems, he decided to stay back in the village and earn his living through agriculture and allied activities. He had tried various innovative and different practices in agriculture and in the span of 5 years through his hard work, innovativeness, and hunger to learn and had become a village resource person for various innovative agricultural activities. His belief in what he was doing was commendable and really motivated me to select my project for the fellowship (Conservation, revival and sustainable use of Crop genetic resources) which gave me an opportunity to work with him and learn from his experiences and in the process give my inputs to enhance his initiatives. – SBI Youth for India fellow Abhishek Prabhakar. His project was on ‘Conservation, revival and sustainable use of Crop genetic resources’


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