The first industrial co-operative venture in Asia
Ahmednagar , the largest district in the State. It is home to 19 sugar factories and is also the birthplace of the cooperative movement. Sugar, milk and bank cooperatives flourish here. Exactly 100 years ago, a great visionary was born in deep into the heartland of Maharashtra. Padmashree Dr. Vithalrao Vikhe Patil was one such visionary.The pioneer of Cooperative movement was bestowed a Padmashri for his Contribution to the community he belonged to. Born in the drought prone district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra ( Western India ) in an ordinary peasant family, he was deeply moved by the pathetic condition of the rural masses.
But he was also aware of the immense storage of resources hidden within the humble rural people. which could be tapped to combat poverty, illiteracy, disease and inertia among the rural masses. He had made a decision. He had decided to take the lead. His lack of formal education did not deter him from his chosen path. With his untiring efforts and the unfliching support from stalwarts like Shri. Vaikunthbhai Mehta as well as Shri.D.R.Gadgil, the first industrial co-operative venture in Asia – Pravara Sugar Factory (1948) was started. What started as a small step, soon developed into an approach that has since been widely recognised as The Pravara Model of Integrated Rural Development.
He established the first sugar Factory at Pravaranagar for uplifting socio-economic condition of the farmers.