KUSHMA: Krishna Prasad Gautam, (59), resident of Mudikuwa VDC of Parbat was reluctant to try his hands at vegetable farming in 2000.
Twelve years later, he finds himself very content at what he is doing.
“At first I was not convinced to sow off-seasonal cucumber seedling in place of corn seeds, but the yield of cucumber farming was beyond my imagination,” recalled Gautam.
He earned Rs 12,000, which was more than three times the income he made from traditional corn farming.
Since then his daily routine has changed.
Every evening he picks basketful of cucumber from his field and the next morning he carries them on his back to Kushma Bazaar for door to door selling.
Whenever vegetable farming failed, the Parbat Community Development Society (PCDS) has assured him of compensation to start organic farming and provide training on entrepreneurial farming.
“Vegetable farming fetches me over Rs 60,000 profit in this season,” said the fourth-grader dropout.
However, he has recently graduated with SLC-equal education conducted by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training.
His certificate accredits him for preparing saplings, organic compost fertiliser and bio-pesticide.
Hundreds of farmers, like Gautam, in six neighbouring VDCs in the district have benefited from the Society, that supports farmers through pro-poor livelihood programmes and also purchase their products.
Farmers buy seeds of lapsi and citrus fruits at subsidised rates and sell their products to the PCD’s factory.
“The Society’s yearly income is Rs 2,00,000. However, some products go waste due to lack of proper marketing,” lamented PCDS Treasurer Thaneshwor Bhusal.
Every year, above 20,000 plus grafted (horticulture technique used in asexual propagation of commercially grown plants for the horticulture and agricultural trades) lapsi seedlings and equal number of citrus fruits saplings are produced in the PCDS nursery and distributed to the villagers.
The Society occupies 20 ropani land of lapsi and citrus fruit saplings. It has been training farmers for producing bio-pesticides using green plants in the forest and animal excretion and compost fertiliser.
Talking to the Himalayan Times, politician-turned-social motivator Tiwari said, “It is more valuable to invest in human development along with roads, drinking water, and toilet construction.”
Tiwari was member of legislature-parliament from the Nepali Congress after April movement in 2006.