When you mention starting your own agriculture school in Goa, the criticism and general negativity is all that you would come across. Manguirish Pai Raikar was no exception . The former president of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry was given so many reasons as to how this was not a good idea but he went ahead anyway. Probably because of his strong networking and never say die attitude, he managed to achieve the impossible.
Finally, after a lot of ground work with the help of the Goa higher Secondary Board who assisted with the formation of the board of studies, the syllabus was put in place. Under the guidance of personalities like Dr. Shrirang Kadrekar, ex- Vice Chancellor of the Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth College, one of the oldest in India, the institution was set up. And finally, in June 2013, the Ramanata Crisna Pai Raikar School of Agriculture was launched. The school was located in Savoi Verem, Ponda with about 32 students, 4 of whom were girls were admitted to XI. Till date three batches have successfully cleared XII board exam.
“If I move in a BMW or Audi, I will benefit but no one else will care about what Vehicle I move in. By investing the same money in the school, I am investing in the future of the Country”
To give vertical mobility to the students after overcoming lot of hurdles and with Affiliation to Goa University the first Community College in the State was launched in the year 2016. The first batch for advanced diploma was started in June 2016.
Born and raised in Savoi Verem, Mr. Manguirish saw agricultural fields and more fields all around him. Historically, around the time of Goa’s liberation, almost 84% of the people relied on agriculture, and now we see that the numbers has dropped to 6%. There are areas in the state that used to grow a lot of different crops and nuts. Now, Goa has to import agriculture needs from neighbouring states. Seeing the download spiral of the agricultural sector, Mr. Raikar thought of doing something about it. He turned his ancestral house into the agricultural school he was dreaming of starting.
The school takes a quite unheard of approach to agriculture. The syllabus is seventy percent practical with compulsory on job training, Students learn how to create and work their own nursery. Other subjects taught are Controlled farming, horticulture,floriculture, landscaping, gardening, orchard maintenance, and many others. Furthermore, they also learn about marketing and management as well.
The school has been getting a lot of recognition from all over the place. Locals take quite an interest in the students working in the field and the various modern techniques they are adopting. Farmers who had fields that weren’t being used as much, took up cultivating them after they saw students working in the field.
The school is pretty well connected with others in the industry. They have signed an MoU with the Indian Dutch Education Agency. HAS university of The Netherlands and have a working relationship with two other foreign universities. They also have MOU with theIndian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). They receive guidance, training and the use of their facilities in Old Goa complex.
If their local farmers have issues, the school immediately starts working to give solution to them. Despite handling so much, the school is now pushing for a degree course but have a lot of requirements they would have to meet, yet is confident of starting by June 2018. In short time this School and the Community college has gained lot of goodwill and credibility. They are functioning without proper Government grant in aid currently and is hopeful of getting it in future till then Manguirish is managing it single handed to see his mission being achieved.