How agritourist concepts yield fruit

Updated - February 15, 2015 05:49 am IST

Published - February 15, 2015 12:00 am IST - PUDUCHERRY:

Pandurang Taware, Director, Marketing and Sales Agri Tourism Development Corporation, Pune, and Pondicherry University V-C Chandra Krishnamurthy at ‘Akansha-15’ in Puducherry on Friday.— Photo: T. Singaravelou

Pandurang Taware, Director, Marketing and Sales Agri Tourism Development Corporation, Pune, and Pondicherry University V-C Chandra Krishnamurthy at ‘Akansha-15’ in Puducherry on Friday.— Photo: T. Singaravelou

Agricultural tourism, the concept introduced by Pandurang Taware in Pune, Maharashtra, has attracted many would-be entrepreneurs at a two-day institute-industry event, ‘Akansha-15’ organised by the Department of Tourism, Pondicherry University from Friday.

Mr. Taware, agritourism concept innovator, is a native from Baramati, Maharashtra, and as someone who belongs to a farmer’s family had a better understanding of the problems faced by the farming community.

He says his childhood memories from the small village ‘Sanghavi’ actually motivated him to start the agritourism concept in 2004. Since then he popularised the concept in every corner of Maharashtra. These efforts bore fruits and many such agritourism centres came up in a short span of time.

Mr. Taware, who is now the Director of Marketing and Sales Agri Tourism Development Corporation, the company he floated, says: “Agriculture tourism advocates a model where the farmers can be hosts when the tourists visit the farm and where farmers directly can sell their agricultural produce to the tourists-consumers.”

He explained that in the prevailing situation, farmers are not allowed to decide the price. He has to go to the mundi and sell the produce there, but here when he is running the tourism project he is the owner of the farm and decides the price of the products.

“This is a win-win situation where the farmer can get the benefit for his agricultural produce and will get more cash for his agricultural produce. Likewise, the tourist can get fresh agricultural products at a price less than open market rates.”

He also added that farmers would conserve the environment of the farm and their family would maintain cleanliness of the farm.

The entire village benefits from out of the tourism project and it is a win-win situation for the long term where the village culture remains intact.

Narrating his success story in Maharashtra, Mr. Taware said, “A group of 218 farmers started the concept and benefited from the project in Maharashtra. Every farmer is getting Rs. 10 to 12 lakh per year from the agritourism.”

Stating that tourist arrival to Puducherry is about 12 lakh annually, he said even if one per cent embraces agricultural tourism or rural tourism the economy of farmers would grow substantially.

Evincing interest in agritourism, Puducherry Tourism Secretary R. Mihir Vardhan pointed out his department would also focus on development of rural tourism in the future.

“I intend to study more about the agritourism and how to take it forward in Puducherry. It is a budding area and holds a lot of scope for development in expanding the horizon of tourism.”

Shoeb Samad, Regional Director, India Tourism, said the students should come forward to keep the tourism sites clean and neat.

They should also assist the government by opening help desks wherever is possible. Akanksha is the flagship programme of the department which configures panel discussions and special lectures involving distinguished industry practitioners and academics from across the country, who will also interact with the students of the department.

The experts representing tourism, hospitality, and allied industries deliberated on pertinent issues that impact their businesses and the prospects and challenges faced by the tourism sector.

Pondicherry University Vice-Chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy inaugurated the programme and distributed certificates and scholarships to the outstanding academic performers of the batch 2012-14.

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