Birtamod, November 15:

Mina Devi Karna of Sanishchare, Jhapa has been earning a significant amount of income through the production of handmade Nepali paper.

Saying that her business, which she started with a very low investment five years ago at her home, has expanded within a very short period, Karna said, “We can earn a lot by operating small businesses from our homes if we have confidence and enthusiasm.”

Karna, who hasn’t had any formal technical training, is known as a successful woman entrepreneur in Birtamod. She said that initially she feared if her business of production of Nepali handmade paper would fail, as most Nepali handmade paper producing factories are situated in hills. “Raw material for the production of Nepali paper, Lokta, is brought from hilly areas like Taplejung, Ilam, Phidim and Lalikharka.”

Altogether 10 persons are employed in her cottage industry. She added that Nepali paper produced in her factory is sent to Kathmandu, Janakpur and local markets for sale.

As the demand for Nepali handmade paper is increasing, four other Nepali handmade paper factories have been established in Birtamod and nearby areas.

These factories make paper bags, envelopes, folders and invitation letters using Nepali paper, Kamal Rai said, adding, “Mainly government offices use folders and envelopes made from Nepali paper”.

To make Nepali paper, Lokta is soaked in water for a day and boiled in a tin utensil to make a paste out of it. It is then poured into frame of certain sizes and dried up in the sun, Rai said.

Such Nepali paper is sold for upto Rs 800 per sheet. Mina Karna added that the price varies according to the quality. She said she has been earning upto Rs 10,000 every month from this business.