In a place where the sun is so bright and scorching hot, the farmers belonging to the local farmers’ group seem to be determined and energetic.
In this rural area of Butwal, farming is an age-old practice passed on from generation to generation. Not long ago, the farmers used to make little profit and had to borrow, often at a high rate of interest.
In 2011, with World Vision’s encouragement, a farmer group was formed with the objective of enabling the farmers to attend trainings together and increasing the amount they grew. World Vision provided training in commercial farming, the importance of fertilisers, financial management, etc. They were also provided with seeds, fertiliser, and equipment.
At present, there are 15 members in the farmers’ group and the area is known for growing all kinds of vegetables, including bitter gourd, cucumber, cauliflower, and tomatoes.
Jayaram Malla, 65, is the president of this group. The quality of life for his family has changed since he received the training and started implementing what he’d learnt on his farm. As a result he has been able to support his family better.
He says, “I am happy that I can contribute more towards my family; I even support my grandson, Pannelal who is a civil engineering student in the town of Butwal.”
Ramayan B.K is the group’s secretary. He also teaches English at the local school. He says, “Earlier, farming was based on experience and traditional methods, but now that we have learnt modern farming methods we are able to derive more profit. I have four daughters and they are doing well in their studies. My whole family supports me with the farming whenever they can as I am very busy with the school. Joining this group has made me more social and I now have a sense of dedication towards my society. I try to volunteer and help out every opportunity I get and motivate others to do the same.”
Bindu Malla, 32, has a daughter and 3 sons. He also admits that thanks to World Vision’s support, his family is doing better. He says, “From my income, after joining the group, I have shifted my children to a private school where the teaching is better. Hence, I am confident that they are receiving quality education. Being a farmer’s son, I myself didn’t have big dreams but after being educated I hope my children become teachers, doctors, etc.”
Within a few years, the group has been able to increase their profit from around NRs 25,000 (about $233 USD) to almost NRs 200,000 ($1,866 USD) every year now. With what they’ve saved, they have also set up a fund to lend to other farmers who are in need of seeds, manure, or fertiliser. Any loan made, is to be paid back within a reasonable amount of time with minimum interest.
The group meets on the 3rd of every Nepali calendar month where they plan what trainings should be requested, the amount of fertiliser or seed to be requested from the local governmental agencies, identify any farmer who’s in need of help with money or equipment. Also, to keep themselves up with the frequently changing market price, they go to the market almost every day and consult with other sellers. Besides, members feel that being in the group and assuming leadership roles has brought about a change in their behaviour as well.
Bindu says, “I have noticed a change in me, and in other members; we are more confident now than before. Also, during our monthly meeting, we come together and share our challenges; when one doesn’t understand, the other tries to make him/her understand and vice-versa.
The group has set an example to the whole community with their unity, commitment and determination. They might have started out small, but now they are able to help not just each other but everyone around them.
By: Nissi Thapa, Field Communications Officer, World Vision International Nepal