MAHARASHTRA – LATUR
ACHIEVEMENTS IN LATUR
- 12/88village clusters completed
- 40 km canal de-silting
- 13 Billion Gallonsof water capacity built
- $200,000Invested so far
- 12,000Individual Impacted
- Ground water table down to 650 ft
- High salinity water not conducive for agriculture
- Youth population migrating out of the districts to cities in search of employment abandoning traditional agriculture
Our Hero Story
A visionary farmer who is creating one acre rupee millionaires in drought struck Latur Maharashtra
Mahadev Gomare, is from Latur a region in Maharashtra that has been severely affected by a man made drought. In 2016 the government had to bring in drinking water to Latur by train.
Mahadev spearheaded the movement that brought together several NGOs to implement massive scale rain water harvesting projects (desilting of water bodies) which led to a significant improvement in ground water levels. The Manjra river which had been dry for over two decades began to flow.
But the success was short lived.
Sugarcane cultivation is one of the primary reasons of the man made water crisis in Latur Maharashtra. Farmers love sugarcane as its a lazy crop (requires little effort) and fetches a good price (INR 60,000 per acre) but is an extremely water hungry crop and sucks the ground water dry. One would have expected that farmers would move to less water hungry sustainable crops suitable for the local rainfall. Instead, sugarcane cultivation shot up by over 800%. To make matters worse, despite knowing the problem it creates, govt policies encouraged sugarcane cultivation.
Sugar mill owners are some of the most affluent and support local politicians.
Mahadev ji realized that this is a problem of economics. Unless farmers had means of making a lot more money, with alternative low water consuming crops they would continue to grow sugarcane. Being a skilled farmer himself, he initiated the School of Natural farming and created demonstration farms for multi-level cropping that would yield upto 20X more income compared to sugarcane. Initially only a handful farmers came forward as early adopters. In a couple years many more farmers came on board. Today Mahadev has trained over 3000 farmers in 26 villages on low water, high yield cropping techniques.
OVBI is now partnering with Mahadev Gomare and the Art of Living Foundation , Bharatiya Jain Sangathna, and other local NGOs to scale this model. Mahadev is working on an OVBI funded 88 village cluster and is one of the key leaders driving our campaign to Eliminate Water Poverty in 5000 Villages by 2023.
US Project Lead
India Project Lead