SURKHET, July 28: Khadka Bahadur Khatri of Gurvakot Municipality-7 of Surkhet had to go to the headquarters Birendranagar to buy seeds as early as 10 years ago.
He has been practicing traditional farming and is now a seed producer himself. Khatri has been producing seeds of okra and paddy for two seasons, on 10 kathas of land. Seed production has now become the main source of income for his six-member family.
"Earlier, it was difficult to get seeds. But now we are self-sufficient in seeds. There is no problem marketing the products," he said, "We are earning Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 annually by selling seeds." He has been producing seeds of corn, rice, wheat, almonds etc. on eight hectares of land.
The Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development (CIPRED) has formed various farmer groups and launched vegetable and vegetable seed production programs. Through this, Pabitra Jankalyan Farmers' Cooperative Organization is producing and marketing seeds.
Cooperatives facilitate farmers in seed production. The produced seeds are collected and marketed. The seeds of winter, annual vegetables and six different types of food crops produced in eastern Surkhet are now being exported to 39 districts of the country.
In the previous fiscal year, the cooperative exported seeds worth over Rs 30 million. Seeds are produced and collected through 38 farmers' groups under the policy of ‘from farmer to farmer’.
According to the statistics maintained by the Agriculture Development Directorate, Karnali in the fiscal years 2019/20 and 2020/21, the cooperative’s income was Rs 10.8 million and Rs 20.36 million, respectively. Director of the Directorate, Surkhet, Chitra Bahadur Rokaya said that east Surkhet has been declared a seed production block area to emphasize organic production while promoting agriculture.
"With the increase in seed production, we have provided machines for grading," he said “Surkhet, which used to import seeds until a decade ago, is now exporting seeds worth millions of rupees annually.