Kathmandu, December 16
Farmers in main villages of Kavre districts have reduced use of chemical fertilisers in vegetables and other crops. Instead, they are increasingly using a bio-fertiliser named ‘Jholmal’ to control diseases and pests while cultivating vegetables.
As per locals in the district, Jholmal is a bio-fertiliser and bio-pesticide that not only controls pests and other diseases in plants, but also helps to improve plant health. Jholmal consists of a certain per cent of green leaves, farmyard manure, as well as crop residue.
Suntali Dunwar of Mahadevstan VDC in Kavre replaced the use of chemical fertilisers in vegetables three years ago with Jholmal and she is happy with its impact.
“I have been using Jholmal for cultivating vegetables since the last three years and the production is good in terms of both quantity and quality,” Dunwar said.
Encouraged by the efficiency of Jholmal, all 22 households in Mahadevstan VDC as well as other nearby VDCs are using it in place of chemical fertilisers and other pesticides.
After using Jholmal, Yashoda Sapkota of Naubise VDC claims to have saved up to Rs 25,000 in a year that she used to spend on purchasing chemical fertilisers for vegetables.
“Jholmal has proved to be a good option to chemical fertilisers,” opines Sapkota, who says her profit tops over Rs 250,000 in a year by farming vegetables in her yard spread over two ropanis of land.
Sumitra Lamsal of Naubise says that she started using Jholmal bio-fertiliser in vegetables to cope with increasing demand of organic vegetables in the market. Lamsal, who delivers vegetables like cauliflowers, potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, among others to Kathmandu market says, “My other family members are in Kathmandu and using harmful fertilisers in vegetables means I am sending them poisonous food. This is why I have taken up to using Jholmal.”
According to these farmers, the use of Jholmal bio-fertiliser was promoted in the district by Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research Extension and Development (CEAPRED) and ICIMOD*.
Farmers said that Jholmal comes in three different varieties — Jholmal-I, Jholmal-II and Jholmal-III — and each variety is prepared with ingredients like water, manure, green leaves and a microbe named Jeevatu, but in different proportions. While Jholmal-I is used to kill soil pests and make the soil fertile, Jholma-II and Jholmal-III are used to tackle various plant diseases, according to them.
Ram Dev Shah, an agro-expert working in these VDCs, said that people were attracted towards using Jholmal due to health and climate benefits of the product and the good results that farmers have witnessed in vegetable farming after using it.
“Vegetables produced using Jholmal are giving tough competition to produce in which chemical fertilisers are used during farming. However, we still need to promote organic vegetables as customers continue to buy vegetables produced using chemical fertilisers, which are usually more visually appealing,” Shah said.
A version of this article appears in print on December 17, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.