DHADING, May 29: Narshingh Tamang of Khaniyabas Rural Municipality-2 has grown cardamom saplings all over his fields. In fact, this has been a reliable source of income for his family. According to Tamang, the farming of this cash crop requires sloppy and humid land.
"Making money isn't a difficult task if we put ideas and hard work together," said Narsingh. As it is difficult to grow crops on steep land, earlier most of his fields remained fallow. But now, he has utilized his 11 ropanis of land for cultivating cardamom. After deducting all expenses, he saves around Rs 300,000 Rs 400,000 a year, all thanks to this agro-business. This has made it easier for him to raise his four children.
In the local market, the price of one kilogram of cardamom starts from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. The market demand is high and Narsingh laments that he has not been able to supply enough cardamom to other markets. Not only him but also most farmers of his village have switched to cardamom farming in recent days. Narsingh says more people started cardamom farming especially after the catastrophic earthquake of 2015.
"We won't have to leave our land fallow if we farm cardamom on it," said Narsingh.
Farmers here have realized that if they adopt modern farming techniques and also manage to take some training, cardamom can be the best crop for farming. As the farmers don't need to spend much of their time and energy for this, they have been utilizing the remaining time for other businesses and works.
Marichman Singh of Khaniyabas-3 said that most locals have used all of their land for cardamom farming. Some have even started community farming. "I think this is the most profitable way to utilize our fallow land," said Marichman. However, cardamom farming is a new profession for the people of Dhading. Until last year, farmers made around Rs. 50,000 by selling cardamom grown in one ropani land but this year their income has nearly doubled.
"As cardamom does not decay and can be preserved for years, we don't have to worry about wastage or loss," said Marichman. A lot of youths who had planned to go for foreign employment have changed their minds. Farmers cannot just earn money from cardamom seeds but the saplings too can be sold at a good price.
In order to avoid saplings with diseases while importing from other villages, separate nurseries have been established in villages to grow saplings. District Agriculture Development Office, Dhading, too has recommended to the farmers to buy saplings from local nurseries. Cardamom farming has been especially famous in Jharlang, Darkha and other neighboring villages.