04 Mar Sustainable agriculture in Nepal and Soman Singh’s story
In April 2019, ASIA started a project in Naukunda municipality, in Rasuwa (Nepal). The project, funded by Italian Caritas, is focused on environmental protection, tackling climate changes, food-safety and on farming and herding.
In Rasuwa there is a considerable water shortage, especially during the dry season (from October to May). Then, during monsoon season, water is not collected to irrigate the soil. In drier periods, agricultural production is inferior or even interrupted. Farmers invest a lot in basic crops – such as maize, paddy rice, millet and potatoes –, but the production yield does not cover the investments and can meet the families’ food needs for no more than 6 months.
After having collected needs and demands from the Naukunda community, ASIA started up this project, which has various objectives. First, to improve the life condition of rural communities, strengthen agricultural production and to develop sustainable commercial agriculture. Then, it aims to enhance livelihood improving access to water for irrigation and offering training so that they can undertake the production of organic vegetables.
In practice ASIA built and will build irrigation system, collection centers managed by local farming cooperatives. It offers training on biofertilizers and treatment technologies for manure, it implements 18 nurseries for horticulture and distributes 5,000 coffee trees, 5,000 cardamom plants and 900 fruitrees.
Read here the direct testimony of a farmer involved in the project:
My name is Soman Singh Glan. I live in Naukunda-5, Bhorle. In my family we are seven: me and my wife, my 35 years old son, his wife and their children, my three sweet grand-children. Our family-tree grows up year by year! My son sometimes does small jobs, but beyond that our family can rely only on agriculture.
Until recently, we used to grow rice, millet, maize and enough vegetables for our sustenance. However, traditional agricultural practices pulled me down. The point is that those practices could feed us for the major part of the year, but they didn’t generate surplus that could meet our other needs. When my wife and I were young, we didn’t have so many needs, thus we supported ourselves only by traditional farming. You really have to see today’s children! They’re always asking chocolates, noodles and whatnot! Moreover, now that we are seven, traditional farming can barely sustain us for a whole year.
Last year, Nepal Agroforestry Foundation realized for us a 6×12 meters tunnel-greenhouse and trained us on horticulture. Then they provided us seeds of tomato, cauliflower, radish, onions, together with coco-peat and propagators to grow our seedlings. They also gave us watering gans, crates and sacks for storage and transport.
It’s amazing how, carrying out the techniques learned during the training, the vegetable production increased almost twofold! To date, we have harvested enough vegetables for two seasons and the total revenue is around 50,000 rupees in one year!
The foundation supported not only our family, but also other twenty-five farmers of my community. Some of us are even planning to increase the tunnel-greenhouse by this year.
Thanks to ASIA and Nepal Agroforestry Foundation, we make our horticulture activity profitable and now we can send our grand-children to school! Thank you!