First batch of graduates from Goa’s first agriculture college
Sulcorna: The first batch of students from the state’s only agriculture college in Sulcorna, which graduates this year, is set to give the profession a shot in the arm.
with the degree lending it the respectability it deserves.
The demand for the professional degree course at the Don Bosco College of Agriculture, now in its fourth year, has only been growing, taking even the government, which was sceptical of its filling even 30 seats, by surprise. Considering the college has been receiving more than 100 applications each year for its 40 seats, it has been granted permission to increase intake by ten students this year.
The student reach has been wide, too, with those from Valpoi, Canacona, Anjuna as well as beyond the state’s borders,from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, flocking to the course. There are also students from weaker sections who are able to enrol only after receiving scholarships, bursary schemes and financial assistance.
For some of the students, who hail from families with an agrarian background, it is all about enhancing traditional knowledge with the scientific temper gained during the four-year course. For others it is about fulfilling the dream of promoting organic farming.
The college largely encourages its students to become entrepreneurs. Officiating principal Satish Patil, who has taught in a number of agriculture colleges in the
country, says, “The students are motivated. Many are not job seekers but want to get into entrepreneurship. This is a major difference I have found.”
“We tell them to get the idea out of their head that they will have government jobs waiting for them after the course. We urge them to start something of their own,consider startups and do things differently,” says director of the college, Fr Allwyn D’Souza.
D’Souza says the college lays stress on practical knowledge. For many students growing paddy was a novel experience. “We did everything from germinating the seeds in the nursery, to manuring, ploughing, sowing, harvesting, winnowing and threshing to parboiling and it taking it to the mill,” third year student from Anjuna, Elijah D’Souza says, adding that they also had to write a report on plot management techniques used and the different types of pests most likely to attack.
The college is situated on a sprawling 810 acre property donated to the Salesian priests in the 1940s. A portion of the land has vast sugarcane plantations with the Kushavati flowing through it. A little paradise.
Although the students study about chemical fertilisers and pesticides as part of their syllabus, the emphasis, when it comes to practicals, is on organic farming and this has caught on.