DADELDHURA, Nov 10: At a time when many of his colleagues are leaving the country for foreign employment, a young man in Dadeldhura easily makes Rs 100,000 a month through mushroom farming.
Khemraj Joshi, 29, of Ganyapadhura Rural Municipality-1, postponed his plan to leave for foreign employment few years ago and started mushroom farming by leasing three ropanis of land.
His friends and family consider him to be an exemplary character in the society and an inspiration to youth through his local entrepreneurship.
Due to unemployment at home, he wanted to go to South Korea for job. He had even started learning Korean language. But when he came to Kathmandu, he saw farms along the way and thought of doing something in the field of agriculture. Instead of leaving the country, Khemraj returned home and started mushroom farming.
It has been three years since he started mushroom farming. He has leased land at Maurada-2, Amargadi Municipality. "At the moment, I am planning on expanding the area by 2 to 3 ropanis."
Joshi has even employed two youths in his farm. “After all the expenses, my net annual saving is Rs 600,000 to Rs 700,000," he said.
"The labor we invest abroad can reap us double the income in Nepal."
He said that the mushrooms are being sold for Rs 200 per kilo in the market.
"My family was worried of the investment as they did not know about mushroom farming," he said, "But now the family supports my work fully seeing my income."
However, Joshi has not got any support from the local government that is coming up with programs to retain the youth in the country. He said: "Different local level units are just showing off as if they are working to make the country self reliant on agriculture. But we are yet to feel the benefit of the government programs," he said. "It would be really helpful for the youth like me if the local government provided any initial support."
According to him, the local government has been making investments in many different areas but not in mushroom farming.
“There are challenges in market management, so assistance from stakeholders would help,” he said. “Locals here prefer mushroom to meat products.”
Most of the farmers buy mushroom seeds from Kathmandu as they are unavailable in the far western part of the country. Joshi started producing seeds locally after the transportation of seeds from Kathmandu became difficult.