A Magar community in Dhorphirdi-3 of Tanahun district has been able to double its income from vegetable farming within a year.
"We earned Rs 207,000 last year from vegetable farming, which is double than that a year ago," said chairman of Namuna Krishak Samuha-Malebagar Bhadra Bahadur Thapa Magar. "A year back, we had earned Rs 127,000," he said, adding that some 22 people are involved in vegetable farming. "The group is now planning to shift to organic vegetable farming as it can maximise income."
The collateral free loan from Sana Kishan Krishi Sahakari Sanstha (Small Farmers Cooperative) has helped us become entrepreneurs, said Thapa, adding that most of the males had, earlier, left the village for foreign employment due to lack of employment opportunities.
However, the new found success has made them more ambitious as the villagers also have a plan to start a dairy, fishery and piggery in a 50-ropani plot of land. "We need Rs 2.5 million," he said, adding that villagers have nothing except small plots of land and only collateral free loan could help them realise their dream.
However, there is a technical problem for Sana Kishan Krishi Sahakari Sanstha-Dhorphirdi that has been helping the villagers with financial and technical assistance. "We cannot lend more than the ceiling as we are a farmers cooperative," informed chairman of Sana Kishan Krishi Sahakari Sanstha Mitra Lal Bhattarai.
"We have confidence that the villagers can realise their dream as they have market access and demand too," he said, adding that if the government, apart from relaxing the loan ceiling, subsidises the interest for dairy — like in meat producing business loans to substitute meat import — it will not only help substitute the import of milk and milk products but also help create employment in the villages.
With 872 male and 855 female shareholders Sana Kishan Krishi Sahakari Sanstha-Dhorphirdi is working in nine wards of the Dhorphirdi village and has been providing support for goat farming, dairy, buffalo, fishery, poultry and piggery.
But it's not easy for villagers to operate Small Farmers Cooperatives that are supported by Rural Finance Sector Development Cluster Programme II under Asian Development Bank (ADB).
"We are facing competition from financial institutions," said Bhattarai, adding that they are also trying to expand their base in the villages and offering less interest making it difficult for us to survive.Not surprising that they also have to fight for their existence at a time, when some of the urban cooperatives have been cheating people playing against the norms of cooperatives. "However, ADB, GTZ, IFAD and the government are supporting Small Farmers Development Bank that is helping 291 Small Farmers Cooperatives to operate smoothly and professionally to ensure their effectiveness in reducing rural poverty and economic growth," said manager of the Sana Kisan Bikas Bank (Small Farmers Development Bank) Krishna Aryal.