Before Monsanto, I wasn’t well versed with the specifics of the cotton crop. While growing I didn’t live in cotton growing area, nor did I learn it as part of my curriculum. I read a few articles about the Bollgard technologies only through social media.
The first time I saw cotton fields was while travelling by train, to my first headquarter in Monsanto. Soon after joining, I got the opportunity of travelling around various parts of Maharashtra and learn more about the cotton crop. Thanks to this eventful journey I realized the immense respect that the farmers have for the Bollgard technology.
With my past experience, I knew that it was extremely difficult to gain the trust and respect of rural customers, but in this case, I was pleasantly surprised! The affection that I received from the farmers was remarkable! This was because of the various benefits they received like Bollworm control, secured and easy yields in cotton leading to increased profitability.
In fact, one particular encounter I had with a farmer, Mr. Shaikh, was quite a heartwarming experience.
Coming from a small village called Kinhola in Parbhani, Mr. Shaikh said something very peculiar; “I as a farmer offer my worship to this Bollgard packet every day.” He got teary eyed as he explained that cultivating Bollgard Cotton, helped him fulfill his dream of having a pakka house and owning his very first motorcycle.
On another occasion, I visited Dhule district, where I met a farmer who showed me something that made me extremely emotional. He handed out his daughters’ wedding card to me, which read “Bollgardchya Ashirwadane” which meant “Due to blessings of Bollgard.” In a state where marriages are called off due to money scarcity and dowry, this incident showed the faith and trust the farmers have for Bollgard technologies.
It is these cherished moments that I share with the farmers that fill me with pride and honor of being part of Monsanto.
If I had to summarize our relationship with the farmers, I’d say “We are the Bollgard team, farmer’s friends and partners of the Indian cotton revolution.”