Venu Madhuri



You can visit the official website for Venu Madhuri here.

BACKGROUND

Venu Madhuri is a rural development project that aims at sustainable development and self-sufficiency through traditional wisdom. Although agriculture contributes only 21% of India’s GDP, its importance in the country’s economic, social, and political fabric goes well beyond this indicator. The rural areas are still home to some 72 percent of the India’s 1.1 billion people, a large number of whom are poor. Most of the rural poor depend on rain-fed agriculture and fragile forests for their livelihoods and lack basic amenities.

The Indian nation’s father, Mahatma Gandhi, contemplated a program of village organization based on sound agricultural practices and village industry that would ensure the proper health and well-being of the villagers. Inspired by Gandhian ideals and the vision of Radhanath Swami, Venu Madhuri, adopted a village named Ramanwadi in Maharashtra as a model with the aim to later replicate the project in other villages.

WORK IN IRRIGATION

The village of Ramanwadi consists of 56 houses and has a population of 360. It is situated on Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) and receives heavy rainfalls annually (average rainfall 3818 mm, with 120 days of rain). It is located in an isolated forest region where basic amenities like roads, health care, secondary education, and a market are still missing. For basic requirements like a matchstick or salt, the villagers walk 3 km down and up a hill.

Ironically Ramanwadi, although located in a heavy rainfall area, faced a water crises for drinking and for irrigation every year during the months of March, April and May. Other than the 4 months of monsoon based agriculture, villagers depended on the forests for their livelihood: selling fuel wood and timber to the industries. People routinely migrated to Ichalkaranji, 95 km away, to work at the power looms. One of the prominent reasons for the water crises was the heavy deforestation of the area. Villagers did illegal forest cutting for earning  a livelihood and the wood went for industrial and commercial purposes. Forest cover acts as a sponge for holding water and binding soil together, but the deforestation started removing this cover.

In 2005, Venu Madhuri, with the local villagers, decided to work on an irrigation project. When the project started, Ramanwadi village had only 2.5 acres of land under perennial irrigation. In 5 years two irrigation projects were completed and Ramanwadi had 40 acres of land under perennial irrigation, benefitting approximately 40 families. The annual sugarcane production rose from 75 tons to 700 tons. Other than sugarcane, villagers grow oilseeds and vegetables for personal consumption and sell the surplus.

OTHER KEY RESULT AREAS

  • Organic farming
  • Animal husbandry (Cow protection)
  • Cottage industry
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Health

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

Neighboring villagers are inviting Venu Madhuri to start activities in their villages

Staff nominated and selected for various courses offered by well known organizations in India NIRD,ANTHRA, PRINCE, NWA.

Staff member selected as free seat, for 12 day permaculture training at Sri Lanka. The selection was from amongst several candidates from Asia and Australia.