Buchkewadi, once a drought prone region was transformed into a green and progressive village through effective interventions and cooperation of the villagers. Here are some of the experiences shared by the residents of the village.
Increase in land under assured irrigation
Earlier we had limited crop choices. Once the rabbi and Kharif seasons were over, we had to rush to Mumbai to earn our bread and butter. There used to be hardly any young men in the village after these seasons. But now 70% land has come under irrigation water, the villagers are back to work in the village.
No more porters
Previously, very few literate people could be found in the village. Many of us were working as porters. Now, situation has changed, children are taking education and doing well.
Increased area under cultivation
Before interventions, it used to be a scary experience to walk on the roads at night as wastelands were spread around the village. Now entire waste land is brought under cultivation. Village has roads and water for irrigation. Village has become greener and beautiful.
Increased water availability
We had to walk long distances, miles together, in search of drinking water. The months of April-May were the toughest times. Now, those hardship days are bygones, we have ample quantity of water in the village.
No migration for employment
We, tribal women had no option but to go outside the village to work as laborers, since the village had no employment options. Today, we have work in the village and are earning for our livelihoods.
Increased milk production
Fodder was hard to find in the older days, now farmers are able to grow fodder crops like Bajari, Jawar which have helped in increasing milk production. Also, ban on open grazing has helped to get good fodder.
No more unproductive animals
Earlier we were having many unproductive animals, which used to graze openly and eat up the grass. Now these animals are reduced drastically and village has enough food for the animals in summer.
Villagers at government jobs
With the spread of education, each tribal family has at least one member working in government organization. This progress is an indicator of village development.
Savleram Gawari, Ex-Sarpanch
Profitable group farming
Earlier we used to cultivate crops individually, now everybody consults each other and using advanced agricultural techniques.
Increased cultivation of cash crops
With the introduction of cash crops, our fortune has changed. Our crops are no more limited to paddy, wheat, jawar and bajari.
Dairy as supplementary income source
Earlier about two to four families were involved in dairy enterprise. They had to travel to Junnar to sell their milk. Now more than fifty families are involved in dairy enterprise. Now, we have our own dairy in the village.
Cash crops like mango changed our life
Earlier villagers used to work as porters in Mumbai mango market. Nobody was cultivating mango crop. Now, villagers are selling their mango in the Mumbai Market.
Importance of water
Our participation in implementation of watershed development program has sensitized the importance of water. More and more farmers from Buchkewadi are trying to follow drip irrigation system.
Adoption of new technology, improved crop varieties
Earlier, we were using traditional varieties of crops. We were not aware about advanced agriculture. Now, we are using improved variety of seeds resulting in better crop production.
Homestead Kitchen garden development
We grow many vegetables like chilli, spinach, fenugreek, beet root, lady’s finger curry leaves, lemons etc. Fruits like custard apple, guava, pomegranate etc. These are grown on house waste water.
New income generation activity for Thakar community
Thakar community mainly depends upon forest produce. We don’t own much land. Village has banned open grazing and hence we earn money by selling forest grass.
Modern school for Buchkewadi
Just like other schools, our children also used to study by using books & slates. Lupin Foundation introduced e-learning system in the school and now children learn through audio-video method.
Hemant Diwate, Principal, Z.P. School, Buchkewadi
Increased bank credibility of the farmers
It had always been difficult for farmers to get bank loans; however, the commitment of villagers has influenced banks like Canara Bank and State Bank of India. These banks sent their representatives to Buchkewadi to complete all the loan procedures and villagers have also repaid the loan timely.
Village became clean
All villagers frequently get together and get involved in voluntary labor activities or Shramdaan to make village clean. Now villagers conduct cleaning activities periodically. Diseases are reduced in the village.
Varsha Dere, Sarpanch
A farm-laborer got an identity
Earlier I used to go for labor work in other farm. I was a common man belonging to tribal community in the village and was not having any special identity. Lupin Foundation selected me as a watershed worker - Panlot Sevak. Good exposure and opportunity for learning increased my confidence level. Now I am elected as a Gram Panchayat member.
Progress of the village through watershed development
In year 1994-95, I had worked through Kalikamata Pratishthan and Vanrai, I am also well aware about the work done by Anna Hajare in Ralegan Sidhhi. I was convinced about the importance of watershed development and knew that it can bring progress in the village.
Suresh Gaikwad – Former Sarpanch
Maharashtra’s First Farm Equipment Bank
Lupin Foundation suggested the initiative of having the farm equipment bank, which can be helpful for the farmers in the village. Advanced equipments are very useful but highly expensive, so sharing them was a good option. This thought gave rise to Farm Equipment Bank in Buchkewadi.
Helpful Onion Storage Facility
This year when we were ready with our onion crop, the rate was Rs. 5-6/kg. I didn’t sell my crop at that time and after some days; I could sell it at Rs. 25-30/kg. Without the Onion Storage Shed - Kanda Chawl, how would have we got such profits?
Direct selling of vegetables
With the help of Lupin Foundation, we sell our vegetables directly to customers at Waraje’s Nadbrahma Society which has almost 1000 flats.
Dairy enterprise – a boon
I was working in my own farm after completing matriculation, but it was difficult to earn profits. So, I decided to start dairy enterprise with Lupin Foundation’s help, which gave me loan to buy cows. Today, I sell 25-30 liters of milk per day to dairy.
We were not aware about the importance of water conservation earlier. With reduced rainfall, we started thinking about some easy and cost-effective options. Lupin Foundation made us aware about drip irrigation and also provided loans for pipeline. Today, my drip system has become an asset for my farm.
Received assistance that changed my life for better
I used to work as a tailor, since couldn’t get sufficient crops in farm. The sewing machine was old, so I was facing problems to complete my work in time. I got financial assistance for new sewing machine through Lupin Foundation. Now, I can work fast and support my family too.
Women empowerment reached every house
Lupin Foundation conducted our study tour to Bhimthadi Fair - Bhimthadi Jatra where we could learn about marketing of products and it encouraged us as well. Next year, four women from Buchkewadi sold home made products in the fair - jatra and gained profit of nearly Rs. 38,000.
Encouragement for vermicompost units
Earlier, we used chemical fertilizers for which we had to spend Rs. 20,000 to 25,000 per year. For the last three years, we have been using vermicompost, which not only saved our money but also helped in increasing our products.
Bio gas plants – another step towards being self-sufficient
Lupin Foundation arranged our visits to Kudal, Malvan and BAIF where we studied bio-gas plants. Today, most of the houses in the village use bio-gas plants.
Getting the benefits of group – farming
I was a taxi-driver in Mumbai, however, couldn’t make the ends meet. Had some agriculture land in Buchkewadi so came back with my family, stayed at a rental place and started taking efforts in my own farm. Lupin Foundation started the initiative of group farming and I became a part of that. We also got financial assistance in the form of loans and to our surprise; we could achieve the profit of Rs. 35,000 to 40,000 in the first year. Now, I am settled in Buchkewadi and doing satisfactorily.