Off Season Vegetables Brought Happiness27 Jul 2016 in GreenGrowth by Saurav
Ms. Laxmi Giri can be considered as one of the happiest farmers at her village due to her knack to bring changes into her life in general and family in particular. Her neighbour says, she has a magic at her hands mainly to grow/produce various off season vegetables at her farmland. Just with a small patch of land, it is remarkable to see her making fortunes, winning laurels and becoming an inspiration for other group members at her village. She is one of many farmers in Pragatisheel Mahila Krisak Samuha (Progressive Women Farmer Group) of Badalkot-1 Baratu, a village in the Kalikot district, who has made a sound return from off-season vegetable production.
Ms. Giri proudly shows her 2.15 ha small farm full of vegetables (tomato, potato, cauliflower, chillies and radish). She explained the story of how a small patch of land became a way of better living for four member’s family. She adds “The maize, wheat and barley could hardly feed my family for two-three months,” and her husband was compelled to work as a wage labourer for many years just to make ends meet.
Laxmi and her husband, both are poorly literate. They hardly can read and write and living under extreme poverty in such circumstances had pushed laxmi into the verge of misery. She was doing vegetable farming for household consumption along with other crops such as maize, wheat and barley. She adopted vegetable farming as a business once the group- Pragatisheel Mahila Krisak Samuha she involved receive support under High Value Agriculture Programme (HVAP). Then, she started participating in various trainings as vegetable production, pest and disease management including marketing that changed her from subsistence to commercial. She says, “I have received improved seeds (off season-Tomato, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Chillies and Bitter Gourd) and financial supports through the group”. She adds, she earned NRs.35,080 by selling vegetables during the year. My family’s happiness knew no bound during that time. The earnings gave new inspiration to my family and it has even encouraged my husband to pursue it further. The next year observed sharp increase in my income to NRs 55,800 only from vegetable production. It offered me more motivation to engage in vegetable farming. Since then, I have never looked back in life because it makes me feel like I found my happiness in my vegetable garden. I continued to raise my production levels 610 kg to 1700 kg per season and generate more earnings, helping me to educate my children. Most importantly, I have renovated my house which increased our social status. Now, it looks new, strong and quite beautiful life. The off season vegetable farming business has now become a main source of income of ours. “Me and my husband truly enjoy working together in the farm, she reveals”.
Most similar with the story of Laxmi Giri, there are other 36 progressive women farmers involved on commercial vegetable production with the support of HVAP where they earn from NRs. 40,000 to 1,000,00 in a season.
As she believes, with support comes success and success brings happiness and prosperity. These remarkable successes from the Baratu, Kalokot prove that when women are economically and socially empowered, they can become a potent force for change poverty reduction. However, they cannot do it alone. What they need is inspiration that comes as a way of investment and support for agricultural and rural development, creating favorable conditions for the rural people to move out of subsistence farming toward commercial marketplace. In context of HVAP’s Inclusive Business Approach, two things have become increasingly evident; the first is that farming at any scale is a business, and smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs. The second is that promotion of women friendly farming practices can endorse growth and opportunities for livelihood promotion, thereby reducing poverty, food insecurity, vulnerability and inequality in rural areas. When these links are in place, wonderful things begin to happen.