Vegetable farming proves lucrative

Madan Wagle

Yampaphant (Tanahun), February 5:

Bal Krishna Pokharel started vegetable farming on five ropanis of land some 15 years ago with Rs 3,000 as the initial investment. He now earns Rs 30,000 every month.

A resident of Yampaphant in Bandipur VDC-8, Pokharel recalled, “When I got into farming, I had a small hut. Now I have a Rs 300,000 worth of a house because of the income yielded by the vegetable farming.”

This year, he has planted seasonal vegetables including cucumber, bitter gourd, gourd, brinjol, garlic, onion, cabbage and cauliflower on 18 ropanis of land.

“I spent a good sum on the family, but can still save up to Rs 60,000 a year,” he shared. “But, nearly Rs 300,000 worth of vegetable was wasted away because of frequent bandhs and strikes. Now I am selling vegetables at half the price”.

“During the bandh, farmers threw away 30 tonnes of cauliflower and 54,000 litres of milk each day”, he added.

He has discovered a cost-friendly way to increase his production. He has constructed a modern cattle shed where cattle urine is collected in a separate tank. The urine can then be used as a substitute to chemical fertilizer and insecticide.

Locals said most of the 500 families in the village have adopted commercial farming. Besides Yampa, Kalchok, Thumka and Wachegaon, farmers have also vegetable plantation on 112 hectares of land and claim they can earn upto Rs 30 million a year.

Hari Narayan Poudel of Yampa earns Rs 200,000 every year. Bhagwati Lamichhne says vegetable farming has improved her living standard. She began commercial farming in 1988.

She said, “Now, nobody has to teach us anything about vegetables and related diseases. Though, we had no formal training, we are experienced enough for all”.

“We have only one problem and that is the market”, she added. Pokharel has the similar feelings.

“Our crops on seven ropanis of land are not finding proper market for bitter gourd, cucumber, gourd and brinjol”.

Locals said they are sending their products to Pokhara, Kathmandu, Lamjung, Gorkha, Baglung, Syangja, Waling, Narayangadh and Sundar Bazaar.