Many families in the hilly and mountainous areas in Sudurpashchim and Karnali Provinces survive merely at subsistence level. Most of the agricultural production is for home consumption and during years of droughts families are not food secure and become depend on external support. Remittances is the mayor source of income for housing, schools and to pay for the water bills for example. Other families take loans to cover for the losses.
RVWRMP improves the well-being of the rural population through multi-functional interventions combining drinking water, improved sanitation, home-garden with the recycled water for better nutrition, irrigation channels that simultaneously empower water mills, and improved cook stoves to contribute to in house air. It has been observed that well-managed home gardens can produce an amazing amount of herbs, fruit trees, vegetables. The home gardens are mostly managed by the women and small excess production is sold by the women on the local market. Capacity building of women in the WASH and home-garden management builds confidence and empowers women and community to be more resilient.
However, nowadays people expect more from agriculture than a diverse diet and improved nutrition. RVWRMP working with RM staff understand these needs and supports the pioneers in commercial agriculture. The Projects provides tailor made support to the farmers and cooperatives that want to go into commercial agriculture. By working together the famers feel the confidence to experiment because the risks of the small-holders can be managed.One case below and five mini-stories show how families set their first steps into commercial agriculture to satisfy a growing demand of local markets. More and more farmers are following the examples. Growing demand, new roads and easy communication have connected remote villages to markets and opened up new opportunities to earn income from agriculture and nature-based products.
Commercial Vegetable Farming can be an Alternative for Migration
Ramaroshan Rural Municipality, Achham
Mr. Bharat Bista an emerging commercial farmer aged 30 and permanent resident of Ramaroshan Rural Municipality ward no.4, Batulasain advices the rural youth no to go abroad for income and livelihood.
Bista has 10 ropanies of land that supported his 8 member family to be food secure during 5 to 6 months per year. Life was tough, with precarious situation of nutrition and health and education in the family.
Bharat went to Malasia in 2071 Ashad to earn money and stayed 14 months. When back, Bharat started commercial farming of vegetables, spices and cash crops. He collects human urine, raises livestock, prepares compost and replicates the ideas and techniques he gets from technicians. Now he is successful in establishing well managed home garden and makes decent income.
In doing so he was approached by the technicians of Rural Village Water Resource
management Project (RVWRMP), a project implemented in his locality by Govt. of Nepal, Govt. of Finland and European Union. He was engaged in a home garden group and he received home garden management training. His keen interest and motivation towards vegetable farming made him selected as a leader farmer from his group and received 5 days leader farmer training. He started to produce chilli on one ropani of land. In the first attempt he earned Rs. 18,000. The success of selling the product was an exciting experience.
He now cultivates different vegetables like cucumber, chilli, cauliflower, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, onions and has annual average income of Rs. 142,600 from vegetable selling. He finds no problem in selling the produce. Recently he bought one ropani of land for 60, 000 NPR. He has also started poultry farming with 250 dual purpose chicken.
He continued with off-season vegetable cultivation in 2 poly-houses. He says due to high price of the vegetables “it is more profitable than the seasonal vegetable production”.
Now, his two children are getting better education in Dhangadhi. The diverse vegetables in the
kitchen has positively affected the family health and nutrition. He explained that he does not need anymore to migrate to Malaysia for a living. He is thankful to RVWRMP III and project staff for the support. He is planning to build more poly houses and expand his vegetable area. He is happy, satisfied and busy. He says “skillful hands and available opportunity are the way out of migration” Is his message as a leader farmer to the youth and his farmer friends.
CONTINUE READING FIVE OTHER MINI STORIES OF FIRST STEPS INTO COMMERCIAL FARMING