Sowing seeds for food and change in a Goan village

Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol sends youth, seminarians and others into the fields to transplant paddy and boost agriculture
SOWING FOR FUTURE: Over 100 youngsters participated in the paddy transplantation at Rachol.
SOWING FOR FUTURE: Over 100 youngsters participated in the paddy transplantation at Rachol.

It was a bright Monday morning and 25-year-old Savio Sequeira from Nuvem was very excited to get his hands and clothes dirty at the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol in South Goa, where he and the other young boys indulged in agriculture.

Dressed in a jersey tee-shirt and a pair of shorts, Savio entered the wet, mucky field to transplant paddy. “It is a new experience for me. I have never done this before. But it is a most exciting activity,” says Savio, with the bundle of paddy for transplanting in his hands.

The field had a vibrant look, dressed in colourful tee-shirts and shorts, with the chitter-chatter of children, some singing, others giggling and laughing and overall much enthusiasm giving it a lively atmosphere.

Youth from Fatorda, Shiroda, Borda, Nuvem, along with the seminarians, their parents and locals, transplanted paddy in a field measuring around an acre. Over 100 people participated in this unique monsoon activity.

SOWING FOR FUTURE: Over 100 youngsters participated in the paddy transplantation at Rachol.
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For many years, the Rachol Seminary has been taking the initiative to have the seminarians grow paddy in the fields. Why? Fr Jollyson Fernandes, administrator of the seminary explains, “It’s about teaching the younger generation the value of growing their own food. Through this, they will learn something new, something different that will help them in the long run.”

HELPING HANDS: Youth from Fatorda, Shiroda, Borda, Nuvem, along with the seminarians, their parents and locals, transplanting paddy.
HELPING HANDS: Youth from Fatorda, Shiroda, Borda, Nuvem, along with the seminarians, their parents and locals, transplanting paddy.

He adds, “The rice we harvest is consumed by the seminarian community for the entire year. If we have surplus, we sell the extra produce – it’s all based on the number of people in the seminary too.”

Though this was a serious activity, many youth like Savio looked at it as something fun to do.

SOWING FOR FUTURE: Over 100 youngsters participated in the paddy transplantation at Rachol.
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“Most of my friends from the youth club participated in the paddy cultivation because we had never done this before. Believe me, at one point, it was very exhausting, but the enthusiasm was unstoppable. It also made me realise the amount of effort and work farmers put in to earn their livelihood. And now, I truly respect them even more,” expresses Savio.

SOWING FOR FUTURE: Over 100 youngsters participated in the paddy transplantation at Rachol.
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As they were transplanting and, most importantly, having fun, they were served simple, yet delicious food that included rice, curry, fried chicken, kismur, cabbage, pickle, fried mackerel and prawns – all locally sourced.

Transplanting, using the power tiller, was not new to Ryan Mascarenhas, a seminarian from Rachol who loves to plant and has completed his studies in agriculture. “Though I’ve studied agriculture, it was interesting to see the youth also be a part of the cultivation, besides the social gathering. When I enter the fields, I feel very connected with the earth. There is nothing more satisfying.”

PLANTING VALUES: The youth farmed on an one-acre field and learned more than just farming.
PLANTING VALUES: The youth farmed on an one-acre field and learned more than just farming.

Twenty-three-year-old Brendon D’Costa from Saligao, who is one of the 45 seminarians, says it was an enlightening experience and he didn’t have to hit the gym that day, as most of his cardio was done on the field, besides connecting with the local farming community.

“They told us how they would go to the fields and work hard, how life was not about Instagram posts and social media, but working hard to sow the fields. It was truly nice to talk to them and understand their perspective,” says Ryan, as he gets busy learning how to plant the saplings in the soil.

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