Back Ground: Village Ramanwadi (56 houses with 360 heads) comes under heavy rainfall area (Average rainfall 3818 mm, with 120 rainy days) is situated on Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats). Ramanwadi is located off the road in isolated forest region where the basic facilities like road, health center, secondary education, market are still missing. For basic requirement like matchstick or salt villagers, walk three km down and up the hill. Several cases of emergency pregnant ladies being carried through bullock cart got delivered in the cart causing fatal treat to baby and mother.
The paradox is Ramanwadi although located in heavy rainfall area faced water crises for drinking during March to May and for irrigation for eight months of non-monsoon. Monsoon based agriculture by growing paddy and finger millet was part source of sustenance. Other than the 4 months of monsoon based agriculture, for livelihood villagers use to depend on forest by collecting non-timer forest produce or fuel wood and timber for the industrial need. The family head use to migrate for work as labor on power loom at Ichalkaranji (85 km from Ramanwadi). One of the prominent reasons for the water crises is heavy deforestation of the area. Forest cover always acts as sponge for holding water and binding soil together. Many villagers use to do illegal timber cutting as a source of livelihood
In 2003 Venu Madhuri with villagers decided to work on watershed development project. The situation of agriculture in 2003 was very pathetic. Whole Ramanwadi village had 2.5 acre of land under perennial irrigation.
Venu Madhuri with villagers completed three projects. First one was a percolation tank on a stream in 2003, and two irrigation projects in 2004 and 2006. As a result of the work today Ramanwadi has 50 acres of land under perennial irrigation. The irrigation projects have benefitting 40 families.
In 2004 the sugarcane production of whole Ramanwadi village was 75 tones and in 2009 the production of sugarcane was 700 tones (at Rs 2000/tone in 2009) Sugarcane cutting labor of worth Rs 80,000 is generated every year at village. With sugarcane villagers grow oilseeds, vegetables, and millets for personal consumption and surplus goes for market sale. Irrigation project has changed the economy of the region. Following are the few cases.
Venu Madhuri Is My Life
Ranga is 36 now. At the age of 18 he moved from Ramanwadi to Ichalkaranji to work on power loom. The reason to leave Ramanwadi was no water to do agriculture, although he had enough land. Ranga worked at Ichalkaranji for 13 years,
Reviving Cow Culture
Maruti A. Patil and his family are from Ramanwadi Village, Radhanagari Tehsil, Kolhapur District; M.S. Venu Madhuri is working with Ramanwadi villagers since 2001, to make Ramanwadi into a village of local self-sufficiency. .
Enu Madhuri’s Life Transformation Stories
Yashvant is now 40yrs old, he left home at the age of 22 and started working as power loom operator at industrial town named Ichalkaranji. He left his family of 2 daughters and one son with wife at Ramanwadi.