Investing in women farmers
Story from Bajhang under Sustainable Livelihoods
Dhanudevi Bali lives in Bajhang district, in the far west of Nepal, and is a true follower of the phrase "learning by doing". With lots of social and economic challenges, her endeavors in learning new things and applying what she learns in her fields have been very successful. Even though Dhanudevi has just a small family with her husband, one son and one daughter, her husband's income from seasonal carpentry work and subsistence farming were not enough to meet day-to-day expenses.
Dhanudevi's prospects changed when she joined a women's farming group, and she changed her subsistence farming to commercial production. Before, she used to grow only cereal crops in her 1.75 ropani (875m2) of land, but now she has a bumper production of vegetables from her field. She has also become a member of a co-operative. She has been saving through the co-operative, so this has enabled her to build a surplus balance from her income, so she can take out whatever she needs for her business.
Under project activities implemented by Mahila Kalyan Saving and Credit Cooperative Limited with the support of UMN, Dhanudevi has received one sheet of plastic to build a simple greenhouse, vegetable seeds for cauliflower, radish, and broad leaf mustard for commercial purposes, and training in commercial vegetable farming. She constructed her greenhouse and is cultivating off-seasonal vegetables inside it. The knowledge about improved vegetable farming through participation in commercial vegetable farming training guided her. This has been successful in scaling up her technical capacity to a higher level, especially in enhancing self-confidence. Using knowledge from training, she is making bio-pesticides herself and is using these on the crops.
She has earned NRP 12000 (AUD 136) by selling tomatoes and NRP 7000 (AUD 80) by selling cauliflower, radish and broad leaf mustard last season in the district vegetable market. This earning helps her family to increase food security. She has earned NRP 12000 (AUD 136) by selling tomatoes and NRP 7000 (AUD 80) by selling cauliflower, radish and broad leaf mustard last season in the district vegetable market. This earning helps her family to increase food security. Beside these vegetables,she is also growing potatoes in her field. Tomatoes from her plastic greenhouse are ready to harvest. She expects to earn NRP 50,000 (AUD 568) this season by selling her produce, which will aid in household expense management. She said: "There is enormous potential for enhancing my production through project support and in linking my produce to markets. I want to prove that investment in women farmers is profitable and convincing in the long-term."
By Deepa Rasailee, Programme Co-ordinator
Mahila Kalyan Bachat tatha Rin Sahakari Sanstha Limited
Translated by Melsan Shrestha
UMN Programme Officer - Livelihoods, Bajhang