Focused on community growth and women empowerment, Biplab Paul has transformed thousands of farmers’ lives across India from an idea originating here in the United States. His recent visits to the Arizona Farm Bureau and other places reflect his ongoing effort to improve his country’s water resource.

Biplab’s adventure started in 2004 when the U.S. Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs invited him to be a part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Biplab, with prior experience conducting water analysis in Gujarat, visited several U.S. cities, including Phoenix, Arizona and Miami, Florida with an open-mind, anxious to learn how the city provides fresh water to its residents.

After Biplab’s visit with Miami’s Global Ties Office, he returned to India with an idea: the Bhungroo, an underground water management, and storage device. Biplab’s Bhungroo, which means straw in Gujrati, helps subsistence farmers in rural India easily store excess water to prepare for prolonged droughts. Land once unstainable for farming began turning a profit for the farmers.

Mr. Paul seated on the edge of his water conservation invention.

In 2011, the Bhungroo business grew when Biplab and his wife, Trupti Jain, developed their own social enterprise, Naireeta Services. Through Narieeta Services, Biplab specifically teamed up with women farmers across India and the world to invest in the Bhungroo initiative. Since then, over 3,000 Bhungroos have been installed, helping more than 20,000 poor farmers and their 80,000 family members. Biplab remains reluctant to patent his technology in order to keep cost low and accessibility high for farmers across the world and is currently partnering with the World Bank and USAID as a part of the Feed the Future program.

Global Ties Arizona was selected to host Biplab Paul in January 2019 as an IVLP Gold Star Visitor.  During his recent visit to Arizona, Biplab visited with faculty at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, toured Arizona Falls via the Salt River Project, explored the City of Phoenix - Tres Rios Wetlands, met with immigrant farmers at Golo Farm and the Phoenix Public Market, and spoke with staff at the Arizona Farm Bureau.

Through these conversations, Mr. Paul was able to learn more about Arizona’s unique approach to water as it relates to farming and food security.

“We were impressed with Mr. Paul’s passion for his country and desire to improve the conditions of the subsistence farmers he works with,” said Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Outreach Director. “His questions let me know he’s always learning, investigating and trying to apply what he learns during his travels. It’s exciting to discover what inspired his Bhungroo invention based on an earlier visit to the United States. People like Mr. Paul help us all rise up to do bigger and better things for others. He makes the world a better place.”

Mr. Paul's Bhungroo water system helps subsistence farmers in rural India easily store excess water to prepare for times of little water.

Biplab was subsequently recognized for his accomplishments at the 2019 Global Ties U.S. National Meeting in Washington D.C. The U.S. State Department works with international leaders every day to create more stories and opportunities just like Biplab’s, one handshake at a time.

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