Parbat, May 14
The Prime Minister Agriculture Modernisation Project (PMAMP) has improved the income of maize farmers in Phalebas Municipality of Parbat district. Phalebas Municipality was declared a maize zone under the PMAMP last year. The project is being operated in six wards of this municipality by Post Harvest Centre – Jhaklak Phalebas.
The project has covered 1,250 hectares of land in ward number two Thapathana, ward number three Shakarpokhari, ward number four Mudikuwa, ward number five Hadigau, ward number seven Limithana and ward number eight Maula of Phalebas municipality.
A total of 1,800 households are involved in this project.
As per the farmers, they have been provided with skills and technical training to improve maize farming under this project. “The project has primarily helped us to earn a good income from our produce. We are given good quality maize seeds and a fair amount for our produce
after the harvest,” said Yam Narayan, a farmer from Phalebas municipality.
The farmers have also been able to get more work done at a faster rate with newer technologies. “Due to lack of market, we used to make feed out of maize for buffaloes. But now we are selling it at a good rate,” Narayan added.
The farmers claim they are able to fetch Rs 210 per three kilograms of maize at present against only Rs 100 for the same quantity earlier. “Not a single maize seed is going to waste nowadays,” beamed farmer Ramakanta Subedi, who informed that farmers are directly selling maize to buyers, while the centre buys their remaining stock for seed production.
The project has also benefited traders.
Thaneshwor Bhusal, owner of Community Food Processing Centre – Phalebas, started making sattu (corn flour) from January after the maize production increased in the municipality. “In these four months since I started making sattu, I have already sold 400 kilograms of sattu inside and outside the district.”
Sattu costs Rs 170 per kg in the wholesale market while it costs Rs 200 per kg in the retail market. As per Bhusal, he directly buys maize from farmers at the market price to make sattu.
“The major target of this project is to become self-sufficient in maize seeds. Last year we produced seeds out of 25 tonnes of maize,” said Hem Sharma Tiwari, incumbent senior agriculture development officer of PMAMP.
The centre not only produces seeds but also stores them. Under this project, centre has provided plantation and harvesting machinery, which make it possible to complete three months’ work in just seven days, Tiwari told The Himalayan Times.
“Our village lacks sufficient human resources. But with these machinery, our work has become easier,” farmer Narayan added. Besides the project has also helped farmers to improve their store houses, promote organic fertilisers and facilitated irrigation, Tiwari said.
According to Project Coordinator Nara Bahadur Chhetri, farmers of these six wards have earned a total of Rs 1.2 million in the last year. Recently the government also decided to provide 50 per cent subsidy to the farmers wanting to buy machinery. “Based on the success we have had in the first phase of the project, we have decided to expand the project based on the budget allocated for us in the next fiscal,” he added.
A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.