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GCCI Agriculture Committee visits Krishi Ratna awardee farmers

GCCI Agriculture & Food Processing Committee visited the farms of three ‘Krishi Ratna’ awardees in Nirankal and Mollem on Mar 25, 2023, coupled with an
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GCCI Agriculture & Food Processing Committee visited the farms of three ‘Krishi Ratna’ awardees in Nirankal and Mollem on Mar 25, 2023, coupled with an outreach initiative for the local farmers called the ‘Krishi Sampark’ that was initiated last year. The visit to KR-2011 Er. Nilesh Prabhu Velgenkar’s ZED certified  Purva Farms, Nirankal,  KR-2022 Mr Rajat Prabhu’s  RRP farm (both in Nirankal-Ponda) and a repeat visit to KR-2021  Vandit R Naik’s RasRaj Goa Farm at Mollem-Dharbandora, revealed that organic practices and natural farming are doing well in Goa.

The products of Purva Farms such as cocopeat and vermicompost are ZED(an ISO equivalent of Quality Council of India, QCI) certified for ‘Zero Defect’ and being sold through outlets of Goa Bagayatdar Society across Goa. Locally manufactured equipment like coconut tree-climbing devices (standing and sitting types) and areca nut harvesters (both manual and power operated) are sold COD in India and online abroad. Er Nilesh also has equipment for producing and filtering microbial products like Jeevamrut, Panchagavya etc used in natural and organic farming alike. He also processes fruits like mango, jackfruit, jamun and pineapple into preserves and juices.

The RRP Farm is a vegetable hub with innovative irrigation system powered entirely by gravity by tapping a natural water stream on the hillside. Similar system exists in Gaondongrem-Canacona but RRP Farm has a huge storage tank and also uses sprinklers and drip irrigation on gravity. Rudresh Prabhu walked us through the plantations and explained in detail various best agricultural practices.

His son, Rajat, joined us after completing marketing at Ponda. The members also saw the various vegetables cultivated around the year for sale in the local market such as bottle-gourd, little-gourd, and spiny-gourd. In a departure from the routine, Rajat has also grafted various mango varieties for pickling (chhepnne tor and korom) and curries (ukaddloli amaddi, ambeachem sasov, etc), the thought of which is enough to make one salivate.

Vandit Naik has named his farm RasRaj in honour of his parents, Rasika and Rajendra. In the one year since the last visit by the GCCI Committee, the farm has grown into a hub for students of schools and colleges to learn organic farming and beekeeping from a young couple of agriculture graduates, Vandit and Priyanka (nee Parab), who have learnt the ropes in Goa itself. With the assistance of Rajendra, they have added four cottages by the riverside for the benefit of visitors who come to learn organic farming or enjoy nature, right next to the Bhagwan Mahavir National Park. It is literally a place of milk and honey with  HF and Gir cows together with beekeeping.

A review meeting was held regarding the GCCI-initiated hand-holding project funded by the District Mineral Foundation for new beekeepers to be guided by experienced bee-keepers from the same locality. An amount of Rs 10.5 Lakhs has been sanctioned by the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), South-Goa to assist the farmers in buying the basic equipment and honorarium for the experienced bee-keepers to conduct the monthly hand-holding visits. A list of potential bee-keepers from mining villages has been provided to the Zonal Agricultural Officer, Dharbandora for onward submission to DMF-South through the ATMA-South. The bee keepers have begun identifying candidates to be assisted under the program.

GCCI Agri & FP Committee chairman Orlando Rodrigues, Vice-Chairman Dr Raghunath Dhuri, DG Sanjay Amonkar, Joseph D’souza, Miguel Braganza,  Carmo D’souza and DD Ambika Dhakhenkar had a fruitful interaction with the farmers.  The farmers were happy that their work has received attention and is being recognized in their home state, Goa.

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