Mukti Mission's agricultural department is a key ingredient to the successful Mission. With over 600 residents and staff living on the main campus, feeding these individuals becomes a huge undertaking. The farm and dairy work over 160 acres of land to sustain the operation and reduce the food budget.
In addition to crops cultivated and harvested, the AG department operates a successful dairy with 20 milk cows and over 50 goats. The supply of milk provides for the Mission this valuable nutrient.
The Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission has been a treasured place in God’s eyes. He has blessed as His servants – notably Pandita Ramabai – made themselves available to His leading. Through the one hundred and thirty-one-year history of the Mission, many have followed her footsteps – often relinquishing their dreams to obey God’s voice. One such person is the Agricultural Department head.
Originally trained as a pastor, he obeyed God’s call to serve at Mukti Mission in an area where he had interest but no real training – he became a farmer. Mukti’s extensive agricultural lands – over 160 acres – have since been transformed from bramble-covered clods of dirt to productive crop growing lands.
Recently, he had the opportunity to travel to Australia to learn more about farming in climates where rain is at a premium. He told us that the training was an amazing lifetime experience where he, ‘learned new things, new technologies, and systems in organic/chicken/compost farming, wastewater management, and cropping and seeding.’
He has returned to Mukti and is actively employing the new techniques he learned, including transforming another thirty-acre plot of land from thorns and weeds into a thriving jowari field. Other projects that have been instituted after his training include hydroponic farming, a plan for fish farming, and Chicken farming. The polyhouse (greenhouse) has been moved to Orchard Project: Asoka and soon will be back in operation. He is in the process of installing cement pipes to drain water from some low-lying areas by diverting it to the water catchment area, providing some much-needed water. However, it is his faith in God as his rain provider that is the most encouraging in a land that sees little rain. Faithfully God supplies the necessary rain and Mukti’s fields always appear to be the greenest in the area.
The excitement is almost palpable as he shares his dreams for Mukti’s farm. ‘My dream is to fulfill the kitchen requirements with self-sustainable products. It is a big job to do but the finished product fills my heart with joy and thankfulness. It was a satisfying thing to see the girls enjoying boiled peanuts that we had grown.’
As he has been faithful to the voice of God, He has blessed. The Australian training is bringing fruit orchards to Mukti, increased vegetable farming in smaller plots, and using water more carefully to supply the needs between rains. How does Mukti get their water? ‘We had water supply through our canal from the irrigation department and we were encouraged to receive it as the water level of Stuti well had gone very low. The Elim Garden dam has been filled with government canal water.
Here is a list of some of the produce that has been grown at the Mukti farm over the last year: watermelon, pumpkins, chikoo grout (looks like Kiwi), daal (pulses), custard apples, peanuts, lady's finger, cowpeas, french beans, guava, sunflower, sweet potatoes saplings, jowar, gram, and chickpeas.