Revolution of Organic vegetable farming started in Haraiya, Bara district

11Bishnu Maya Shrestha, inhabitant of Haraiya-6 in Bara district, faced much difficulty because of limited financial resources. Her husband, who had gone to Malaysia to earn for the family, fell ill and had to return to Nepal. The family, with two children going to school, faced the lack of enough income to maintain their livelihood.

Now, with the support of UNDP’s Global Environment Facility – Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP), Bishnu and her family have adequate income and live a much better and easier life.

Bishnu became a member of a farmer’s field school supported by GEF-SGP, becoming an active organic farmer and producing okra, sponge gourd and bitter gourd – initially in an area of about 100 square meters. Now, within a period of 3 to 4 months, she has harvested about 70 kilos of sponge gourd, 40 kilos of bitter gourd and 30 kilos of okra. Buyers come to the village to buy the vegetables, so she does not need to worry about marketing and selling them. She has sold them conveniently at the gate of her own farm, at the rate of Rs 25 to Rs 40 per kilo for sponge gourd, Rs 25 to Rs 70 per kilo for bitter gourd and Rs 20 to Rs 40 per kilo for okra. With this new source of good income, the livelihood of the family has improved significantly.

By now, she has saved around Rs. 4,150 and the stock is still growing. Not only this, she also uses the vegetables for household consumption. She is also an active member of Pratiba Agriculture Environment Conservation Group.

Since it was set up in 1996, the GEF-SGP has funded more than 130 local initiatives for environmental conservation. The projects deal with biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, reversing land degradation, international waters protection, capacity building and eliminating persistent organic pollutants. These projects have all involved local communities in conserving their local natural resources in ways that enhance human well-being and livelihoods and deliver global environmental benefits.

One of the projects supported by GEF-SGP is the Farmers Field School project which started in January 2012. This school is promoted by Multi-dimensional Resource Centre (MRC) Nepal with the financial support of GEF-SGP. The school promotes organic vegetable farming among local farmers. The members of the school gather every Saturday and learn how to grow organic vegetables, find out about the nutrient requirements of the vegetables, and understand good and bad pests and ways to control them by using bio pesticides. Farmers field school for summer vegetables started from February. In this summer school, a total of 26 farmers have participated utilizing a total of 5.5 katha (1,848 square meters) of land. 25 out of the 26 farmers are women, and most of them are from marginalized communities. From September/October, farmers field school for winter vegetables will be initiated.

“Earlier it was very difficult to convince the local people because they thought that growing organic off-season vegetables was not possible,” said Mr Bharat Khadka, Team Leader of the project. Motivating the people was difficult, but the results were great.

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Bishnu has been a member of the school since January 2012 and is also leader of one of the sub-groups in the school. The learning from the school has been very important in her achievement.

She heartily thanked the project and admired it in her own words, saying “Green revolution has started in Haraiya-6, Bara district with the kind support from UNDP’s GEF-SGP and MRC-Nepal."

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