Mentha farming gives new life to Bardiya farmers

Shiv Raj Bhatta/Ravi Dhami

Thakurdwara, April 22:

Two years back, Nanda Bahadur Bista could never sleep for fear for his crop. Since his farm is near the Royal Bardiya national park, the risk of an invasion by wild animals was always looming. He spent sleepless nights for fear that his labour might go in vain. But, now he has started to cultivate Mentha, which has known medicinal value. He is confident and free from worries now. Mentha is neither food for animals nor birds are interested in it. Most farmers are getting attracted to Mentha farming. The reason why farmers in the mid-region are opting for its cultivation is the speed with which it can be harvested. The production of five to 10 kg of Mentha is possible on one Kattha of land, which fetches from Rs 500 to Rs 750 per kg, Bista told.

Farmers in Bardiya’s central region, Shivpur, Thakurbaba, Surpatawa, Sriramnagar and Babar VDCs are putting 25 bighas of land to its cultivation. It takes four months (mid-January to mid-May) to reap the harvest of Mentha. Rice farming is possible soon after, president of the mid-regional management committee, Om Prakash Jaisi, said. Mentha, which is used in several medicines, including Witha and bam, does not need any seed, as its seed is its root. Farmers feel that its cultivation is not that complicated. It thrives well even on land which does not have much fertilizer. “Terai Area Landscape Programme (TAL) provided Mentha seed to farmers in the beginning. Thereafter farmers arranged for further planting themselves,” said coordinator of the (TAL), Yuva Raj Regmi. According to him, a centre has been opened in Bardiya for processing Mentha. “After processing machines were installed and work began, 1,000 kg of Mentha has been exported from Bardiya district,” Regmi said.