There are plenty of reasons to be proud of the progress that has been made in sustainable agriculture at the Mukti Mission farm in Pune District of Maharashtra, India.  Abbey Scholarship recipient, Ishwar Dass has kept us up-to-date with what's been happening there since his return to India. 
Since completing his Royce & Jean Abbey Agricultural Scholarship in Western Australia last year, Mukti Mission's Farm Manager, Ishwar Dass has seen great success in improved crops. 
Dass, as he prefers to be called, was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Armadale and the Rotary Club of Daund in Maharashtra, India, to undertake in-service training in sustainable agriculture in the South West of WA for three months. He was mostly under the tutelage of Frankland River farmer, Ron Watkins of Payneham Vale Organics. Ron had visited the Mukti Mission farm in India on several occasions and was therefore able to help Dass work out how best to apply sustainable agricultural principles in the unique Indian context. 
Since returning to India at the end of July 2019, Dass has been able to impart some of his freshly honed farming skills to others within his sphere of influence. And the farm, which produces a variety of crops primarily to feed the hundreds of residents and staff at Mukti Mission's main campus in Pune District, has seen greatly improved yields as a result. 
One exciting aspect of this is that, with Dass's help, many of the girls who are resident at Mukti have developed their own vegetable gardens in the vicinity of their cottages. And the gardens have thrived!  It's been a nice little source of pocket-money for them, as they sell some of their produce to staff. 
Rotarian Peter Warren (Past President 2012-13, President-Elect 2021-22) has been one the main protagonists for this partnership with the Royce & Jean Abbey Scholarship Committee, since Past District Governor, Terry Barritt OAM first put the proposal to the Rotary Club of Armadale that the club might find a suitable candidate for the scholarship. Peter is Mukti Australia's Regional Director for Western Australia and Northern Territory and regularly visits India. 
In December 2019, Peter was able to visit Mukti once again and to take Dass to meet with the Rotary Club of Daund, who were thrilled to hear of the progress due to the successful sponsorship. 
This has been an ongoing success story and we greatly appreciate the role that the Abbey Scholarship has played in it.