Debu Khadka of Chainpur-10 tends to vegetables in her farm in this recent picture. Photo: Jagat Khadka/Republica
BAJHANG, April 7: Debu Khadka of Chainpur-10 remains busy working on her farm from dawn to dusk. However, she hardly feels tired. “When you love your work, you don’t feel tired no matter how much you work. I love farming,” she beams.
Khadka grows vegetables in around five ropanis of land near her residence. The farm taken on a lease has been giving her a reasonable profit for the last two years. She started vegetable farming four years ago.
Before that, she worked as an office assistant at a local school. She used to wash clothes and do dishes as well for different households. People used to look very down upon her due to her very lowly paid job, she shared. Even after working for hours, she would get a meagre salary. “Life was tough back then,” she reminisces.
She was always inclined towards agriculture, but poverty kept her away from it. “We didn’t have our land so thinking about farming felt like a distant dream,” said Khadka who lives in a rented house in Chainpur
Khadka had come to Chainpur two decades ago. She does not like to talk much of her private life as ‘that does not please’ her. “What I love to talk about is this – vegetable farming, this is so good,” she quipped.
Four years ago she gathered the courage to start something new. She started vegetable farming by taking a small plot of land on lease. “I did not have much money. With the little bit of savings I had, I managed to start this farm.”
In the beginning, she planted some flowers and vegetables like tomato, chilli and beans. Though she could not make a considerable profit, her investment was returned. That encouraged her to expand the farming area.
“I started with a kind of garden. A tiny garden. I planted flowers and a few types of vegetables,” she said. “Gradually, after working hard day and night, I was able to expand the area of my garden,” she added.
Now, in addition to the vast vegetable farm, she also has livestock. The buffalos she rears provide milk and even manure for her farm. As such, all the produce from her farms is purely organic.”
“People visit her farm to buy vegetables knowing that I only sell organic vegetables. I do not have to struggle to sell my products,” she claimed. “I have a few buffalos, and their dung suffices for fertilizer. Along with that I also have some cattle,” she added.
It is very beneficial to rear cattle if you are into farming. They complement each other. While the dung is used in the farms as fertilizer, the waste part of the vegetables can be used as fodder for the animals.
“If you are doing vegetables or any other kind of farming, it is very wise to rear some cattle as well. Because rearing cattle helps you cut down expenses,” she said.
By selling buffalo milk and vegetables, she makes over Rs 1500 per day. That sums up her monthly income to around Rs 45,000. This amount is something Khadka would not even dream of a few years back
“It is not just about money, what is even more valuable is the way people appreciate your efforts. They say it’s great that I am growing organic products,” she shared.
Khadka does not have the experience of reaching out to vendors to sell her vegetables and milk. Consumers come to her doorstep to purchase.
The mother of one sends her daughter to ‘the best school in town’ and dreams of educating her to the highest level. “I am planning to build a house, which I will do soon. My other responsibility is to educate her, to the highest level,” Khadka said.
Kantari Sunar’s story is not much different. Sunar, also from the same village also takes vegetable farming as a blessing in her life. “Vegetable farming changed the entire course of my life,” she said.
Sunar used to work as labour at various construction sites. Since the last two years, she has been into vegetable farming. She also took land on lease. “This is just wonderful. I am going to take even more land on lease,” she said.
After her husband’s death four years ago, she has been providing for the family. ‘But there is no problem’. Vegetable farming suffices for a family of four. “Going is easy for my children and me. I also have a saving of around Rs 200,000,” she said.
Women’s attraction toward vegetable farming is growing in the district. According to a local vegetable wholesaler, Lok Bahadur Oli, women are finding vegetable farming very beneficial. “They are doing great, the number of women into vegetable farming has significantly grown of late,” he noted.