SAYONI BHADURI – Pune
Pune-based Agri Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) is working with different Indian states to develop and promote agri tourism in India. Pandurang Taware, president and MD, Agri Tourism Development Corporation said, “We had 20 district collectors from Bihar come to our Baramati farm to undergo training and understand agri tourism.” He added that the state of Bihar is keen on developing a similar format there. He has also worked with Punjab Tourism to develop their farm tourism projects. MTDC has also shown interest in the project and have considered bringing it under the MahaBhraman programme, where they will promote agri tourism with dedication.
Explaining his venture further, Taware informed that he trains farmers in skills required to manage and run farms for tourism purposes. “To train in agri tourism, a package of five days cost approximately Rs 3000,” he said. The benefits to farmers are immense, Taware explains, “A farmer can earn up to Rs two to three lakh in a year from such a set up. These funds can easily be put back into his farmland.” There are 357 talukas in Maharashtra, and there is a potential to develop three-four centres per Taluka, according to Taware. Such units allow the country’s culture and environment to grow sustainably. It provides respect which is due to farmers, and tourists understand the situation. At the same time he informs that is something that not all farmers can do, it takes a lot of time and personal involvement.
The pilot project was set up at ATDC in Baramati, Maharashtra in 2005. In 2007, ATDC trained 52 farmers to set up similar units across the state.