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A Lithuanian family who grows green peas and export them to India
Behind the faceless statistics of Lithuania’s soaring agricultural exports to India, there is also a personal story to tell.
Father and son, Valdas and Kasparas Mulevičiai from the Meškalaukio village in Northern Lithuania, know India firsthand. The green peas they harvest are sold to such faraway places in Asia and Africa that others only know from geography books.
The two also travel extensively to learn about the farming methods and practices applied in foreign countries, in order to increase the efficiency of their own yields.
Valdas Mulevičius, 56, visited India recently. ‘Indian farms have impressed me lot,’ he admits.
‘Farm fields are weeded, although I haven’t seen a single machine spraying herbicides onto those fields. If weed is not there, it means farmer has plucked it from the field, manually. The land plots are predominantly small, 5-7 acres on average. Those owning 25 acres or more are considered millionaires. Every plot is being cultivated, from edge to ditch. One farm can yield two crops in a season. The harvested mustard straws are shredded by pieces, 3 cm each, and then mixed with cow dung to produce fire fuel,’ Mulevičius recounts with awe and excitement.
In addition to India, he has also visited Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the U.S.
Meanwhile, his son Kasparas, 23, has just graduated from a local university and is now helping his father attend the fields.
Together they run almost 700 acres of land, where they grow winter crops, rapeseed, green peas and broad beans. A significant share of their harvest is exported to foreign markets, including India.
For young Kasparas, agricultural work in no way undermines his professional ambitions. ‘Farming’s been my deliberate choice, as I see ample opportunities in the area. Yes, sometimes my working day extends beyond daylight hours, especially during the harvesting season. But I can also experiment with different [farming] methods and cultures and be accountable to no one but myself.’
Both father and son are passionate basketball fans and always travel to Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city, to watch the game.
They are also frequent visitors to a local gym and a bowling club. ‘Village life is nowadays increasingly less and less different from what the life in big cities is,’ Valdas Mulevičius contends.
It is hard to disagree with a simple farmer from a remote Lithuanian village who nevertheless has already seen Taj Mahal.
See full unabridged article here (in Lithuanian)
Photo © by V.Suslavičius
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