Welcome to Dagewadi- A village located 35 km away from town Akola, district Ahmednagar of Maharashtra. This small village enjoys a very distinguished place in the development of modern day agriculture. Thriving cultivation of cash crops such as tomatoes, cabbage and various others having state of the art irrigation support system that included 26 Well and 35Check Dam has made every household here well off. But this all would not have been possible if a Couple, with a mission to serve the society, hadn’t landed here.
32 years before in 1985- Mohanrao Ghaisas, an energetic engineer with dual degrees in Electrical as well as Mechanical streams, with her equally dynamic better half Smita made their way to Dagewadi and changed the entire picture of this small village of just 55 households that time. When Ghaisas’s, as swaymsevak of RSS, first came here, the situation was very pathetic. Most of the land was too barren to cultivate anything. No irrigation source except a tiny pond located 5 km away from the village was there. Leaving oldies, women and children behind all the young men had to remain out of the village for 9 months every year for their survival.
In such odd situations under the aegis of Suyash Charitable Trust both Mohanrao and Smita conceptualized a model of “Cow Based Advanced Organic Framing” and experimented it in the fields of few students of the Akola Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram,where Mohanrao Ji was deputed as Palak by RSS seniors. Once these families touched the annual income of 40,000 rupees from their 1 acre of barren land, this farming model was applied all across the neighboring villages too. Trust volunteers trained the villages in enhancing the seed quality and also skilled them in making fertilizer from cow-urine and also dibbled Wells and erected Check Dams to channelize the rain water for effective irrigation. In neighboring Melghat village, Bapu Kale and Shyam Belsare succeeded in cultivating 10 quintal of Soya bean and 1 quintal Jwar per acre of land and earned 47,000 rupees. “Now our barren land has become the goldmine of cash crops” says Bapu Kale. Similarly Motilal Bavne, a resident of adjoining Biba village, constructed a Check Dam and four fellow farmers jointly utilizing it’s water reserve cultivated a bumper Rabi crop and earned 18000 thousand per acre. With the incredible efforts of Suyash Charitable Trust, awarded with the first Nanaji Deshmukh Award, Today in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Odisa millions of farmers in 2600 villages have been able to make their fortunes through this unique model of organic farming.
With the application of this advanced organic agricultural model and the determination of Ghaisas duo this region has turned from nothing to great significance. However, this journey hasn’t been that smooth. In the initial days of this project volunteers had to face tough resistance in Umbarpada, where villagers bluntly imposed the condition that if they could solve their water problem then only they would listen to them. But now inhabitants of the same village feel proud when reporters of various T.V Channels queuing up here every now and then to interview Ekanath Gayakavad, who made a record earnings of 16 lakh rupees through the cultivation of Strawberries in his 3 acres of land.
In the beginning from seed procurement to dibbling of Wells all the needed money was loaned to the villagers by the Trust, but now farmers are managing all such things through Self Help Groups and have become independent.