Dr. Parashram Patil is an agricultural and natural resources economist. He is a well-known international expert in the field of agriculture and natural resources economics. He has earned a Doctorate from Shivaji University, Kolhapur (Agro-based Industry of India) and Post Doctorate from Savitribhai Phule University, Pune (Natural Resources Accounting). He is also an NMML Fellow. He is presently working as a consultant/expert at various international organizations like the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and Government of India etc. His research centers around issues related to agriculture and food security, agri-trade and agri-value chains, crop insurance, subsidies, sustainability and poverty alleviation, forest accounting, and climate change.
This is the story of an ordinary village boy. A journey of dreams and aspirations. It is the story of a boy from an agricultural family who shaped himself as an international expert at prestigious organizations such as the United Nations. This is the story of one of India’s finest young agricultural and natural resources economists and social scientists. It is a story of not giving up on your hopes, no matter what. Despite the limited financial resources, the orthodox village mentality, the prevailing sub-par rural education system, the agricultural bend, and the expectations to share the family workload, he believed that knowledge is the only way out of this vicious cycle.
It all started in a small village where a boy who had the slightest interest in schooling and studies, whose only interest was to watch TV and roam around in the fields with his friends. His parents and teachers were worried and equally disappointed in him. Everyone around him had lost hope in his education or that he would do something worthwhile with his life. What then led this boy’s transformation into one of the most sought-after economic specialists?
Parents are the guiding light in a child’s upbringing and shaping the kind of human one becomes. Even though deprived of education for themselves, his parents wanted to educate their children at any cost. With love, force, and every other possible action, the boy returned to school. He was two years younger than his classmates were as primary education started with the third standard. Having missed his primary education, and with only fundamental literacy and numeracy, it was hard for him to cope-up with the more advanced classes. He consistently scored low, and he remained an average student throughout. Naturally, his teachers, his parents, and himself were unhappy and disappointed in him. Yet, despite his struggles, he managed to pass 10th standard with average marks, to everyone’s surprise. He even managed to pass the 12th standard and his commerce graduation with average marks.
As a child, he regularly visited and played in their cashew farms. His grandmother gave him a few raw cashew nuts that he sold at local stores every day to fetch some money and enjoy the eatables. He was labeled the bad boy of the village who had no interest in school or studies. As he grew up, this bad boy identity had stuck with him and troubled him for a long time. Though his parents are illiterate, they had sold some of their agricultural lands to complete his education. They were also the first parents in the entire village to give higher education to their two daughters.
However, destiny had different plans for him. After completion of graduation, by chance, he got admission for post-graduation at Shivaji University, Kolhapur. It is from here; his life takes a turn for a change. He started reorienting his ways of living. He happened to learn about the research and Ph.D. from his seniors and teachers on the campus. He initially struggled to find a mentor who would take him in as a doctoral student owing to his average educational background. However, looking at his determination, Prof. Dr. S.S. Mahajan decided to give him his first Ph.D. student opportunity. Despite many hurdles, he completed his Ph.D. on the topic of cashew nuts.
“Learn to build your house with the bricks others have thrown at you”.
This saying stands so true with this boy, who is now “Dr”. Parashram Patil, who used to sell raw cashew nuts as a child that bought him “bad boy label” in his village, nevertheless, the same cashew nuts led him to his doctorate. Cashew nuts have always been his hero and close to his heart. He has written many books and research papers on this subject, which got global recognition. He has brought this local issue to an international platform. He has set an example of taking local to global.
After completing his Ph.D, Dr. Patil secured the top rank at all India level in Dr. S. Radhakrihana Post Doctoral Fellowship in his subject. He became the first student of Shivaji University to get this prestigious post-doc fellowship in his subject. Dr. Patil completed his post-doctoral research on “Natural Resource Accounting” from Savitribhai Phule University, Pune. He was also honored with the membership of prestigious institutes such as the National Coalition of Independent Scholar (United States), International Population Environment Network and many more.
Life has thrown different challenges at him, but he has overcome them all with his hard work, perseverance, and dedication. He attributes his transformation from a notorious child to the man he is today, to his changed attitude towards education and realizing the impact education has on changing one’s life. Dr. Parashram Patil is a self-made man, a living example of how a parent’s love and belief can influence a child’s mind and how sheer determination can overcome any adversity. He believes that it is never too late to start and that knowledge is power, a power that can transform paper into a currency.
All his hard work has brought him to the global stature, and presently, he is one of the finest agricultural and natural resource economists and social scientists in the country. He is a well-known international expert in the field of agriculture and natural resources economics. His research areas cover agricultural economics, policy research, forest accounting, climate change, finance, and the list goes on.
Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards and accolades such as: The Young Researcher Award, MTC Global Excellence Award, Best Citizens of India Award, and Mahatma Gandhi Leadership award-2018. He has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets and his research papers appeared in prestigious journals (Scopus & ABDC Index). Dr. Patil has been nominated for Fellow, NMML (Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, Ministry of Culture, Govt of India. It is a highly prestigious fellowship and dream of many Indian social scientist/economist/historians. He has six international books to his credit published by prominent international publishers.
Dr. Parashram Patil is presently working as a consultant/expert at various international organizations like the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and Government of India, and collaborating with multiple initiatives such as Start Up India, Drought Action Network and numerous academic institutions. He is also the Founder and President of The Institute for Natural Resources at Kolhapur.
His long-term vision is to contribute to the overall development of the agricultural and natural resources economics sector in India and worldwide, securing India a proud place in the global agricultural economy.
Written by Dr. Parashram J Patil
Edited by Nivedita Kamath and Dolly Singh