Farmers in Kabre-1 of Dolakha have more than doubled their income after having switched to commercial vegetable farming from the traditional practice.
"In the same piece of land, our income has doubled to Rs 10,000 per month," said president of Netrajyoti Micro-entrepreneurs’ Group Khem Prasad Dahal, who used to earn only Rs 5,000 four years ago.
This is an example of the villagers in Kabre maximising their farm income through the effective use of land and changing the crop patterns. “The change in crop patterns has helped us earn up to Rs 250,000 — after reducing all expenses — from five ropanies of land," he said, adding that the villagers have done away with the traditional method of farming and have opted for commercial farming of potatoes and tomatoes using the tunnel system that has helped boost incomes by around four times from what they used to get from wheat and paddy cultivation three years back.
Two groups of 25 households are involved in commercial vegetable farming which they sell at the nearest Maina Pokhari and Charikot markets.Earlier, the local markets used to bring vegetables from as far as Kathmandu and villagers also used to go to Kathmandu in search of jobs but since they started commercial vegetable farming, they have become suppliers and their men do not need to go to Kathmandu to make a living.
"With a little training from Micro Enterprise Development Programme, we have started earning a decent living in our own village," said another farmer Tek Bahadur Dahal, who has 10 tunnels of tomatoes on his farm. "Currently, we supply vegetables to Maina Pokhari and Charikot markets," he said, adding that there is no problem of a market for the agriculture produce.
Since the last three years almost all the villagers in Kabre-1 have switched to commercial tunnel vegetable farming.
"Apart from more production, the tunnel system needs lesser space than the traditional system," said Dahal, who has been able to send his two children to school regularly from the earnings of commercial farming though he himself could not complete his education due to his family's condition. Regular earnings can help boost education standards too. "Currently, I am also studying at the 12th grade," he added. “If villages across the country follow our example, remittance — that has become the lifeline of the country’s economy — could soon be substituted by commercial agriculture farming which will be sustainable too.”