Nurseries set up by Wadi plot-owners or SHGs, after receiving training in grafting and nursery management, are good sources of income in many areas. In quite a few cases, income from sale of saplings is much higher than income from sale of fruits.
Saplings produced in nurseries are sold to Wadi projects, and farmers in the area who have been encouraged to take up horticulture, after seeing the returns gained from well-managed Wadi plots.
One of the several successful nursery owners in BAIF-Wadi project areas is Mohan Kirkire, of Raitale village in Jawhar taluka of Thane, Maharashtra. The family owns 5 acres of land and before being introduced to Wadi, they grew millets and paddy.
Mohan became a Wadi plot holder in 1993, and planted 20 mango grafts (alphonso, kesar and rajapuri varieties) and 40 cashew grafts (Vengurla-4). He was selected to receive training in nursery techniques from a Krishi Vigyan Kendra centre in Thane district. Mohan then got the idea of starting a nursery, and received credit support from the project.
Mohan used the money to construct a small shed in his Wadi plot and purchase tools and materials like a budding knife and plastic strips. He raised mango rootstocks from seeds of mango trees growing naturally in nearby forest areas. Seeds were put in raised beds, and after around 20 days, saplings were ready for grafting.
Mohan began to produce grafts of varieties like rajapuri, kesar, alphonso and suvarna. The grafts have to be cared for 18-24 months before they can be sold. Mohan made his first sale of grafts in 2003; he sold 125 grafts @ Rs 18 each. Over the years, output increased; in 2007, he sold 8000 grafts @ Rs 20. The net income was several times the income earned from selling fruits produced in his Wadi plot.
Mohan has sensibly used increased income to enhance his livelihoods base. He invested in livestock and also grows a variety of vegetables like brinjal, tomatoes and radish, for family consumption. His plot is a centre of excellence that has attracted farmers from other parts of Maharashtra as well as other states.