MYAGDI, Jan 31: There used to be a jungle where now lies a farm. The locals have started potato farming inside Daduwa Community Forest of Myagdi after realizing that they could use the plain areas of the forest for farming.
“Earlier, this idea did not cross our mind. There were empty areas in the forest. Later, we started farming and we are doing good business,” said Mohan Bahadur Bhandari, a member of the community forest user group. “The soil is good for potato,” he added.
The new love of locals for potato does not put the greenery in danger, he argues. According to Bhandari, the forest management committee checks it to ensure that the forest is not harmed by the farming.
“We were happy about potato farming also because it would increase people's participation in conserving the community forest. On one hand, we can be more connected to the jungle, and on the other hand, we can earn through farming. So locals liked the idea,” said Bhandari.
Potato farming even keeps poachers at the bay, according to Bhandari. The presence of villages in the jungle discourages poachers from carrying out illegal activities.
Bhandari stated that potato farming will expand in the coming year. While people used to cultivate potato for domestic use earlier, now they are interested in commercial farming.
“We are going to expand it. But we must take care to keep the greenery of the jungle intact and cultivate potatoes only where it doesn't harm the trees,” he said.
There are pocket areas in the district where potato and radish are farmed for commercial purpose. Bhandari stated that more and more village folks are getting interested in this. "People are happy to have found this new source of earning," he said.