28 Mar Sustainability and female empowerment in Nepal, Sunita’s story
In november 2019 ASIA started up a project in Kavre and Sindhupalchock districts (Nepal) thanks to Italian Agency for Development Cooperation’s funds. The project aims to enhance the livelihood of 3500 farmers, improving small-scale agricultural production and marketing of high value seeds and spice.
Farming is the mainstay of Nepalese economy: it includes one third of the nation’s GDP and it provides work for two third of the population. Nevertheless, in Kavre and Sindhupalchock there are numerous problems that deal with the production of quality seeds, poor knowledge of marketing channels and of production techniques.
Moreover a lot of Nepalese men migrate towards foreign countries in search of jobs and this leaves a gap in family and farm management. For this reason most part of the project focuses on women’s role in business management, in order to guarantee their full participation and equal opportunities in leadership.
Some project’s activities point to improving the production of local seed in order to meet the local markets’ demands, so that it can increase the average income of producers. Others are directed towards the improvement of production, commercialization and transformation of spices such as ginger, turmeric and chili, in order to develop their export potential.
ASIA involved the Agricultural and Forestry Sciences Department of Tuscia University, which is of great value for the introduction of new techniques and technologies for high quality seeds production and conservation. It also preciously helps in realizing a seed bank for safe-guarding the genetic heritage of local varieties. The beneficiaries are supported also by the marketing experts from Prato University Centre in business planning and in studying the value chain of selected products, in order to create a sustainable commercial system.
The local partner CEAPRED (Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development) is responsible for the activities coordination and articulation, for the involvement of local authorities and for ensuring the development process ownership.
La produzione agricola nepalese fa un uso massiccio di pesticidi e fertilizzanti chimici. Ultimamente sta crescendo la consapevolezza sugli effetti nocivi di questi prodotti e gli agricoltori stanno esplorando nuovi biopesticidi e fertilizzanti biologici fai da te, ad esempio con il letame. E’ questo il caso di una contadina di Namobuddha, che un tempo adoperava prodotti chimici e che ora si sta adattando a nuove pratiche sostenibili, biologiche e stagionali.
Nepalese agricultural production makes heavy use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Recently awareness is growing about the harmful effects of these products and farmers are exploring new biopesticides and organic do-it yourself fertilizers, such as manure. It is the case of a farmer from Nambouddha, who once used chemical products and who now is adapting herself to new sustainable, organic and seasonal practices.
I am Sunita Dhital, I’m 42 years old. I live in Namobuddha-2 municipality and I am part of Radhakrishna Mahila Farmer Group.
I have my own land in which I have been practicing for ten years agricultural production. Since some years ago, the profit was really poor, not at all proportional to what was sown. Moreover chemical fertilizers and materials for protecting the croppings were very expensive. The local community and traders didn’t want to buy my products because they knew they weren’t so safe and healthy.
The story changed when ASIA in collaboration with CEAPRED, intervened in our village. The project involved me directly: they gave all of us trainings on sustainable agriculture and they choose my land to demonstrate the new technologies, the good farming practices, the preparation and employment of jholmol and of compostable manure, drip irrigation systems, mulching, pheromone traps and so on.
After the training I decided to adopt these practices in my farm. It’s easy to prepare jholmol, the materials are available right here on the ground and the effects on insect pests and, at the same time, on our health are amazing! I realized mulching on tomato fields, a plastic pond that can collect until 18,000 liters of rainwater and an irrigation system. All this with the constant support of the project.
Thanks to these technologies, the costs have been lowered and vegetables really have a different flavour! Now that my production is totally organic, Namobuddha farmers and traders are always asking me for more products to sell. My business is booming.
I’d like to enlarge my farm in the near future, to make it organic and sustainable at 100%, to raise seeds and spices productions, obviously employing the technologies learned thanks to the project.
I’m really thankful to ASIA and CEAPRED for technical support and training, thaks!!