Goa’s first agricultural college
The first objective of Goa’s first agricultural college, started by Don Bosco at Sulcorna village of Sanguem taluka, is “to discourage farmers from sacrificing their land to builders and multinational companies.”
If it happens, then 12th September would be the historic day for Goa, when the first batch of BSc in Agriculture, with 40 students, begins its eight-semester bachelor’s course this year.
“Our aim is to convince the students of economic viability of agriculture, beyond paddy and vegetable cultivation”, says Fr Ian Figueredo, Provincial of the Panaji province of Don Bosco.
A pioneer in many experiments in the educational fields in Goa since 1946, the agricultural college at Sulcorna may change the face of Goa, which was an agrarian economy till ‘70s.
Focus on economic alternatives
More than traditional paddy cultivation which is not lucrative enough, the college wants to focus on floriculture, horticulture, organic farming, multicrop farming, green house farming, animal husbandry and food production.
“In fact we want to start a marketing hub by next semester and the last two semesters would be wholly dedicated to practical training and actually practicing rural agriculture in the village”, said Miguel Braganza, Goa’s well known agriculturist and a faculty member.
The college has also planned to adopt neighbouring Neturli village, which Goa government has already adopted to make it a Model Village of Goa, by focussing on agro industry.
For more scientific rice production, the Don Bosco College of Agriculture has tied up with the Indian Centre for Agricultural Research (ICAR) of Old Goa, following which the college wants to focus on production of ‘Allsando’.
Agro Eco Tourism
“We also plan to experiment Agro Eco Tourism in Sulcorna in our 810 acres of land on the banks of Kushawati river and a forest hill in the background”, says Braganza. The institute is already growing sugarcane, banana, coconut, cashew, arecanut and saffron in the campus.
The management is convinced that Goa, a tourist state, has a great potential in fulfilling the needs of Goans in terms of agro products while also making use of it for green tourism. “The tourists will come here, stay in the campus and get first-hand experience of working in the fields as a part of agro eco-tourism”, he adds.
Their next target is to utilise huge tracts of Khajan land, which is lying idle uncultivated. “Nobody is farming in the Khajan land, which was developed by our forefathers through wet land”, says Braganza.
The DBCA has thus tied up with the ICAR, now renamed as Central Coastal Agriculture Research Institute, which is working on developing Goa’s Khajan land. The research institute is working on Khajan-friendly rice cultivation as well as other agro products.
Highly subsidised for Goans
The college will have 40 students each year – half from Goa and the rest from India, who will pass out after four years. The eligibility for their admission is 50 per cent in XII Science or Std XII in Vocational Horticulture with Chemistry and Biology. Students can take admission even without Maths, provided they pass a ‘deficiency course’ in Maths in the first year.
For Goan students, fees are heavily subsidised by Goa government. For example, when it costs Rs 46,250 for students outside Goa, a Goan has to pay only Rs 4450. Similar are the other fees subsidised.
Courses for local farmers
“We will have short term as well as long term training courses”, says Fr Figueredo. These courses are meant for mid-career professionals as well as for those who cannot study up to graduation level and weekend courses for the local farmers.
With a young agricultural professional – Cazy Fernandes – as the Principal of the college, the DBCA has a line-up of experienced faculty, including visiting faculty in collaboration with the Konkani Krishi Vidyapeeth and other agricultural universities in the country.
“Our ultimate aim is to transfer modern technology to the rural areas and develop trained graduates and post-graduates. We want them to develop as young entrepreneurs, not as mere employees in the agricultural sector”, said Fr Figueredo.
If it happens, it would be actually a dream come true…