TANAHUN, Oct 15: He wakes up early in the morning, often before 5 am. Then his routine begins of taking care of his buffaloes. He cleans the dung, and provides fodder and water to them. After that, he starts milking the buffaloes and takes milk-filled canisters to the market in his scooter.
After crossing a bridge over Seti River, he arrives at the river confluence at Shuklagandaki Municipality-8, from where he starts delivering milk at the houses of his customers. Total 80 households in Syauli Bazar, Belchautara, Sera, Galchina and Dulegauda areas are his customers.
For Nir Bahadur Thapa of Simle, Bhimad Municipality-8 in Tanahun district, this has been the daily routine for over a decade.
Thapa, who ‘thoroughly enjoys rearing buffaloes’, earns handsome amount to look after his household by selling milk. He said his monthly income is about Rs 200,000 by selling milk alone.
“If I hadn’t delivered milk by myself, I would have earned less,” he told Republica. “The middlemen take away large chunk of the earning if I sell through them. So I sell directly to my customers and go to deliver at their doorsteps.”
By selling milk to the dairy, farmers hardly get Rs 85 per liter. Consumers can buy milk for Rs 110 at the dairy. But Thapa delivers it at their doorsteps at Rs 110, so people prefer to buy from him.
“I have loyal customers from one decade. Their satisfaction keeps me motivated,” he said.
With his comfortable income, Thapa has been able to send his seven children to private schools in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Earlier he used to deliver milk in his bicycle. When he bought scooter four years ago, his work has become much easier.
“I could have continued the profession of teaching. But I would not make this money,” Thapa said. He completed his bachelor’s degree in education in 1988 and worked as a teacher for few years. The salary as a teacher was not enough to sustain his family.
In 1996, he ventured into farming and livestock. Started with fish farming, he moved to pig and even chicken farming. He then settled for buffalo farming, as it took less time and gave greater returns. “Buffalo farming provides me instant profit by selling milk, so I enjoy it,” he said.
He started with an initial investment of Rs 200,000 with local species of buffalo, and gradually put in more money over the years. At present, there are 14 buffaloes in his farm that give. Including calves, there are total 23 cattle in his farm.
His venture, Thapa Buffalo Model Farm, is a registered firm with a total investment of Rs 5 million. He is planning to develop it into a model farm by adopting modern technology. The Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture, and Co-operative of Gandaki Province had awarded Thapa’s farm as a model farm in the last fiscal year, with a cash prize of Rs 1.3 million.