Banana plantation benefits locals

Bhanubhakta Acharya

Makawanpur, May 2:

Krishna Bahadur Rumba of Aaptal, Rupachuri of Manahari-2 has sold Rs 1,300 worth of bananas in this season so far.

Krishna Bahadur is a much-relieved man after he planted 300 banana trees on 10 katthas of Khoirya (unirrigated land). Some 450 economically backward persons like Krishna Bahadur have planted pineapple, epilepil grass and bakaino trees along with banana.

Pointing towards his banana and pineapple plantation on a 15 katthas of land, Tirtha Bahadur Rumba said that he sells 100 pieces of bananas for Rs 70 to Rs 90 at Manahari Market.

Locals in Rupachuri, situated at the border of Kankada and Raksirang, have replaced traditional crops like corn with banana and pineapple.

Laxmi Maya Moktan, another local, has already sold Rs 1,000 worth of bananas and pineapples planted on her one bigha of land. Laxmi, a mother of nine children, said with the introduction of banana plantation in the area, the land prices have also gone up after the village was linked by road.

Nobody would have paid Rs 2,000 for the whole plot of khoirya but now I won’t sell it even if I get an offer of Rs 100,000. Now there is a road and an ideal platform for horticulture. It was only natural for the land price to increase.

Tens of villages like Krishna Bahadur and Laxmi Maya used to go for slash and burn cultivation every year. But with the completion of the road project with technical aid from DDC, Makawanpur and Manahari Development Institute (MDI) under World Food Programme, farmers are attracted towards agricultural forest now.

MDI coordinator Khop Narayan Shrestha said that a total of 91 metric tonnes of rice was spent on the mini project of road construction. “We have provided them with amriso, epilepil and bakaino plants along with banana and pineapple”. Shrestha added after the United Nation World Environment Fund introduced Small Grant Programme in Manahari, Kankada and Raksirang VDCs where the work on environment conservation and poverty alleviation is also going hand in hand.

None of the 16 Chepang families in Polaghari has irrigable land. Most of the three VDCs depend on farming on land prepared by slash and burn technique. They don’t even have land ownership certificates.

MDI’s agriculture officer Shrestha said to boost their income and divert them from

destroying forestland, the agriculture forest programme was introduced. Farmers in remote settlement Phariwang, Hang-lang and Balbhanjyang of Manahari along with other villages in Kankada and Raksirang VDC have already dug 20,000 holes within the first week of Baishakh to plant bananas and pineapples.

Chepangs, who earlier used to enter Royal Chitwan National Park, to scour asparagus and amriso, are now opting for horticulture and that too on their own land.