We have all heard the story of the ant who never gave up climbing the wall even after numerous falls. All our lives, many such stories become a part of our routine, stories like these, lives like these touch us somewhere deeper in the heart and makes the mind work beyond own imagination to achieve what once was just a thought.
A sane craze in the mind, and with a willful heart, after infinite criticism and many failures, this man and his partner in the passion, his wife have crossed all the barriers to do what they once wanted to do. Diverging from the regular way of pearl culture which otherwise is a luxurious practice, they brought down the cost involved to minimal.
These people of iron-will, after struggling for 10 long years eventually found the perfect way in which pearl culture should be practiced.
Krishi Jagran brings you an interaction with these people of iron will, how they started off, what motivated them to take up this idea and make a wonder model and inspiring bench for all the aspiring pearl cultivators.
Based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Ashok Manwani and Kulanjan Dubey Manwani once started off from Maharashtra, have already covered 13 states : Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Manipur, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Assam etc. where they proved that pearl cultivation is possible and farmers can reap the benefits from the activity.
From 70 years pearl culture is being practiced all over the world but has never been an efficient way nor feasible. Costs involved are huge which is around INR 18,000 per kit. Digressing from this costly investment, Ashok Manwani who has named his organization “Indian Pearl Culture” (IPC) invented cheap tools from cycle spoke etc. which didn't let the shell die.
Manwani studied commerce and Dubey studied arts in academics, but science attracted them to surrender to this attractive prospect. While learning about pearl their mentor, Janki Raman, Director at ICAR, CIFA made available the tool kit, knowledge of shells, but the mortality rate of these shells are still hard to determine. Pearl culture though is profitable but should be taken as a side business, since the risk involved are high. Pearl culture should be associated with fisheries which are complementary to each other and the fishes provide food to the shells and the shells purify the water for them. Each shell can purify water up to 300 L in a day.
From 20 years, they are doing experiments for the betterment of this culture. It was the result of this that now they can produce 4-6 pearls in one shell, when the general average stands at 2.
Ashok Manwani stresses on finding shells in one’s own city, shells perform better in their indigenous climate. Countries like China and Japan, are leading in the pearl business even when India has higher number of shells available in the country and in comparison they are better in quality.
If you want to start pearl cultivation, make sure you get training from KVKs or certified centers, only then it would be profitable and government support can also be obtained from such training programs.
Investments and cost involved with each shell comes around Rs. 20-30 and it can be sold ranging from Rs. 300 to lakhs depending upon the carats of the pearl which is decided by the gemologist.
Manwani and Dubey travel extensively to provide training and conduct experiments on pearl cultivation in the entire country. They have received many awards and appreciation from regional and national governments. They have received 8 national and 72 other awards. Lately, they were awarded with CIFA’s first progressive farmer even when they don’t have land of their own. Farmers like these are setting new benchmark for us and show how determination and faith can make all the heads turn round.
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