Trail-blazer shows the way to success

Sanischare, December 15:

Betel nut farmer Narayan Prasad Rijal of Budhabare in Jhapa is a trail-blazer, who will likely be hailed as a saviour of betel nut growers in eastern Nepal. With his own resources, he set up the country’s first betel nut processor.

Rijal spent Rs 1 million to set up the plant. The machine can process 60 quintals of nuts daily, but currently it is processing only 15 quintals. The husks of the nuts are a good source of fuel for operating the plant.

He said farmers were selling betel nut at Rs 15 per kg, but now processed nuts would sell for Rs 150 per kg. Betel nut is grown in 20 VDCs of Jhapa. It is also grown in Morang and Sunsari, according to the secretary of Betel Nut Development Organisation, Nilkantha Tiwari. It is estimated that betel nut is grown in over 400 hectares of land and annual yield is 72,000 tonnes. The market, however, is flooded with betel nut from Singapore and Indonesia that is smuggled in via India.