Balkhed village defies drought thanks to its seeds revolution and rigorous implementation of the government’s Rainfed Areas Development Programme. Participating villagers earned Rs 3 crore in three years thanks to a seed manufacturing, packing and grading unit. This money helped the villagers tide over the economic crisis that hit almost all other villages of the region over the last three to four years.
When Anil Bonde, the sub-divisional agricultural officer in 2011, suggested seed farming, the village gram sabha set aside 200 acres for seed growing plots. The Shree Balnath Shetkari Krishi Vidnyan Mandal runs the seed business, registered under the Seeds Certification Authority of the state government. In 2011-12, 1,300 quintals of foundation seeds of gram were grown and the farmers then pooled in money to buy a seed processing unit. In the very first year, the villagers produced 830 quintals of processed gram seeds which was sold to farmers at Rs 6,500 per quintal, Rs 600 less than the market price. The villagers also received a special central government grant of Rs 2,200 per quintal.