Threatened by real estate boom, Goa village takes up farming
The picturesque village of St Estavam, surrounded by the meandering Mandovi river, has seen change. Residents are gearing up for an yield of 175 metric tonnes of raw paddy from the Goa Dhan 1 variety of rice seed.
Amidst real estate boom and rapid decline in rice cultivation in Goa, residents of a village in the state have gone back to cultivation due to alleged fear of “gated migrant communities encroaching upon agriculture land”,
The picturesque village of St Estavam, surrounded by the meandering Mandovi river, has seen change. Residents are gearing up for an yield of 175 metric tonnes of raw paddy from the Goa Dhan 1 variety of rice seed. This seed is specially designed for “khazan” or saline low-lying agriculture flat beds in the state.
The idea originated nine months back at the community level. At present, the state government is keeping an eye on this pilot project. If it becomes successful, the experiment would be spread in every village. “It’s happened for the first time in Goa. Imagine the promise it holds for generations of Goans, who can take lessons on how to bring large fallow land owned by different persons under collective cultivation,” says project head of Sanjeev Mayekar Agriculture Technology Management Agency, the reform wing of Goa’s Directorate of Agriculture.
The initiative has been registered as “Illha Verde Farmer’s Club”, or the “green village” club. “One of the biggest learnings was to build a nursery next to the farm and start transplanting and use mechanisation. The village is now gearing to get the entire 250 hectares for cultivation by the next Kharif cycle,” Mayekar was quoted as saying
Sahitya Akademi award winner DamodarMauzo has welcomed the project. “A changing demographic is our concern, with the migrants and gated communities. We welcome them, but this fear is real. The lands that remain uncultivated suffer in two ways. Many families who leave the shores take too long to return, with their lands either lost, in dispute or taken away by politicians and sold in huge real estate deals. In this context, this project is something we must appreciate,” Mauzo said.