Both Ashok Manwani and Kulanjan Dubey Manwani, his wife, feel passionate about pearl cultivation. The couple met in 2003 during an event organized to gain knowledge about pearl cultivation for the first time. The love for pearl cultivation helped them connect. Today, the success story of the couple has become an inspirational story for many others.
Interest in Pearl Cultivation
Ashok Manwani was born and brought up in an agricultural family. Ashok researched and read articles about freshwater pearl farming and pearl cultivation, and his interest in the subject grew. During his college days, he used to collect mussels from the Morna river and experimented with pearl farming.
Ashok mentioned, “In 2000, I finally went for to an institute in Bhubaneswar at the pearl culture institute. After completing my training, I felt confident about my skills. I became self-assured enough to teach others the art of pearl cultivation. My wife and I started experimenting and trying different techniques. It was so good to have someone in my life with who I could bond overwork as well.”
Challenges Faced By The Couple
The couple faced multiple challenges. Explaining their work to others proved to be challenging. The duo experienced many failed experiments which, were disheartening. They had to cook on wood fire many days and had to live in jungles. The couple worked hard and developed different tools like a mussel opener and a wooden mussel stand to cultivate designer pearls. The specialty of these tools is that they are very tender tools that do not lead to the oyster’s death. Through their hard work and determination, the couple proved that pearls can be found not only in saltwater but also in freshwater sources like rivers and ponds in villages and cities.
Indian Pearl Cultivation
The duo started an organization called Indian Pearl Cultivation with the objective of training as many individuals as they can to take up pearl cultivation. The main motive of the couple is to make sure that India becomes a hub for good-quality pearls. Usually, it is only possible to extract up to two pearls from an oyster, but the technique developed by the couple can help the farmers to take out approximately six pearls from one shell.
Learning Through Government Organizations
Ashok mentioned, “If one wants to learn pearl cultivation go to government-run centers instead of going to private institutes which charge a hefty sum. Farmers need to stop buying oysters from other states. The climatic and water conditions of every state are very different. The best thing to do is to buy oysters from your state. Chances of oysters doing well and thriving are better when they are from their native state.
Process of Pearl Cultivation
For pearl cultivation, it is advisable to add spirulina to the water, which is considered a superfood for the animals, and the water should be light green. Ashok mentioned, “The micronutrients in the spirulina are very beneficial for good growth. In 1 sq. ft, you can have two shells placed comfortably.” If a person wishes to start pearl farming by making a pond in their backyard or space available in their homes then it will cost around Rs 25 lakhs to have the entire set-up done. But to help the farmers and encourage pearl cultivation, the government is providing a subsidy of Rs 12.5 lakhs to farmers.
Ashok Manwani and Kulanjan Dubey Manwani have conducted programs and awareness drives in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, etc. Mad4India wishes the duo all the best for their work with pearl cultivation and farmers.
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