To irrigate the trees, he has laid two 4 km long pipelines to source water from the Mhaisal irrigation scheme of river Krishna. After being an automobile mechanic, Sawant has become an ‘agri-entrepreneur’.
Kakasaheb Sawant- (Photo: the better india)
Kakasaheb Sawant is now running a plant nursery after working for nearly a decade in several major automobile companies in Pune. He has come a long way. Kaka Saheb is earning Rs 50 lakh annually from his nursery. He says that- “When I planted mangoes a decade ago, people used to laugh at me because they thought that mangoes could be grown only in Konkan. Because he is famous for his Hapus (Alphonso).”
43-year-old Sawant says that his two brothers are teachers in the primary school. Sawant is the owner of 20 acres of land in Antar village of Jat taluka of Sangli district of Maharashtra. This is also a drought prone area.
fertile black soil
About 280 families live in this village. The fertile black soil has been gifted by nature to 125 villages in this taluka. But it receives about 570 mm of rainfall. The farmers here grow either grapes or pomegranates. Mango is considered exotic here and its cultivation is unique. The favorite crops of the farmers here are bajra (pearl millet), maize, jowar, wheat and pulses.
have returned to the village and are making their area green
Sawant tells The Better India, “Earlier, I worked in a technical institute in Sangli. When I was transferred, I decided to return to my village and look after the family farm.” He further said, “I have no regrets on my decision, as I earn a lot today. I am also helping to make the taluka green through fruit trees and wild plants. Farmers and establishments like schools, panchayat offices etc. receive saplings from my nursery.
set up his garden
Sawant set up his own mango orchard in 2010 and five years later, he saw a business opportunity to start a nursery. To irrigate the trees, he has laid two 4 km long pipelines to source water from the Mhaisal irrigation scheme of river Krishna. Additionally, he has constructed a holding pond with the subsidy provided by the state agriculture department.
Planted many types of trees
Presently Sawant’s 15-member family lives in Banali, which is known for its deity Shri Banshankari. The family farm is equally divided into mango and non-mango orchards. The saffron variety is in 10 acres, while the remaining 10 acres are covered with sapota, pomegranate, custard apple, guava, tamarind, other trees.
Sawant’s nursery has a shade-net and is spread over one acre, while the mother plant, from where the saplings are planted, is spread over another 10 acres. These native plants of the saffron variety are the source of grafting cuttings for the rootstocks of the Raiwal mango variety.
Maharashtra government has honored
Every year 2 tonnes of mango crop is produced per acre. Sawant has become a role model for other farmers in this water-scarce region. After being an automobile mechanic, Sawant has become an ‘agri-entrepreneur’ and is employing 25 people in his farm and nursery. Sawant has been honored by the Maharashtra government with the title of ‘Udyan Pandit’.
Farmers from far and wide come to Sawant’s field to collect saplings and witness the wonders of horticulture. There is a three year old mango tree, on which 22 varieties have been grafted, which is laden with green colored fruits at this time of the year.
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