This has reference to the news story “Love of reading increasing among local women in Kavre” (THT, October 17, Page 5). Nepal’s literacy rate has increased recently due to informal education campaign launched by the government for many years.

People love to read fiction, non-fiction and religious books as a pastime. More than that, the number of readers has been rising due to access to the internet, books and newspapers even in rural areas where such facilities used to be considered as luxury and quite a few people used to attend schools and colleges some two decades ago.

The government has spent millions of rupees on informal education targeting the adult people who could not go to school and college due to various reasons when they were children.

Adult women are particularly interested in learning taking time from their household chores. There are many women even in urban areas where they have been attending informal classes run by local clubs or women’s groups.

There are some schools which have even run formal classes for the adult people who can sit for school leaving certificate exams. The informal education programme has been quietly useful and successful among those women who do small-scale business such as street vending, milk, fruit and vegetable selling and retail shops.

They need to know simple mathematics to do those kinds of businesses. That is why they have been attending the informal classes sincerely.

Saroj Wagle, Bara

Olive oil

Apropos of the news story “Pilot olive cultivation project a success in Bajura” (THT, October 19, Page 4), the project can change the lifestyle of the impoverished Bajura people if it becomes successful.

The pilot project shows that the climate in the region is suitable for olive cultivation. Under the scheme, 28 species of olive plants were planted in the land of a public school where the plants have started yielding fruit.

Olive oil is widely used in Europe and other developed countries as it contains low cholesterol and is also used to treat cancer and various skin diseases.

It is interesting to note that some of the olive species have also been found in the forests of Bajura and adjoining districts but the government and the concerned agencies had no idea about their existence until recently.

If the local olive plants are cultivated for commercial farming the entire region could become a hub for olive oil and it can help improve the condition of living of the entire region always afflicted by food scarcity, thus badly affecting health, education, sanitation, lower life expectancy and high maternal and neonatal mortality rate.

The Ministry of Agriculture must come out with a long-term plan to make this region a centre for olive cultivation.

There will be no problem for market to sell the olive oil and its residues as it has become quite popular even in Nepal’s urban centres.

Umesh Rathour, Bajura