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Feature News: Women of Gorkha, Chitwan pursuing economic independence through farming

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Prithvi Maya Gurung of Betini, Shahid Lakhan Rural Municipality-2 in Gorkha district is engaged in floriculture, and is doing excellent at the business.

'Lagansheel Koshish Mahila Krishak Samuha', a women farmers' group led by herself at Betini earned Rs 17,000 in two months by selling flowers.

The flowers have been grown at the flower garden started by the group five months ago. The group of 19 women has cultivated flower plants in one ropani of land that has been taken on lease for five years for Rs 5,000 annually. The women have taken a training course on flower gardening, watering, constructing tunnel, and preparing nursery beds for flower seedling.

"We planted flower seedlings after undergoing training five months ago. We are struggling to fulfil the increasing demand for flowers. We have together grown the flowers of chrysanthemum and marigold. Main problem we are currently facing is land and water. We are planning to expand our flower garden," said Prithivi Maya. Now, she is encouraged by the incomes from the sale of flowers.

Flowers produced by the group are sold in the Manakamana Temple. Rupa Dawadi, secretary of 'Lalupate Koshish Mahila Krishak Samuha', another women's farmer group, has reared 14 goats. She took a training course to start with goat farming with six goats in the beginning. The group has 20 members. "I did not know what doses of medicine are administered to goats, and what amount of fodders are required. Training session I underwent has made it easier for me to rear goats," she shared.

Similarly, 'Gairigaun Mahila Koshish Krishak Samuha' at Gaurigaun of Ratnagar Municipality-11 in Chitwan district generated Rs 40,000 by selling vegetables. The group has grown vegetables including ladyfinger and bitter gourd on four kattas of land. Lady's finger is sold for Rs 60 per kg, and bitter gourd for Rs 50 per kg. The group has taken the land on lease and pays Rs 3,500 per year.

The women associated with the group have collectively grown vegetables, and the products are sold in Narayanghat. "Training has caused differences. After undergoing training, I got trained on the usage of fertiliser and taking care of vegetables," said Shanti Bastola, the group member.

The group collects Rs 100 per month as membership fees. The members can take loan from the group at one percent interest rate, which goes for different purposes like covering household expenses and doing business. The group is planning to expand vegetable farming. "I got the opportunities to get new experiences," she said. A subcommittee of five members are formed, and they pick vegetables and sell them in turn. The Association for Dalit Women's Advancement of Nepal (ADWAN) organised a 15-day training session on flower gardening and goat rearing. It has also provided flower seeds and required equipment.

Dawadi has got all her goats insured. "My husband's income is little. I am now confident that I can support for my family and provide education to my children with incomes from goat rearing. Without training, it is difficult to rear goats. It generates good incomes from properly rearing goats," she said.

Now, we need monetary assistances to construct a goat pen for us, she said. She is planning to add goats if the goat pen is managed. “In the past, I reared goats by registering a firm. There were 35-40 goats. Later, most of the goats were killed due to diseases, reducing the number to only 5 and 6,” she said. The group has saved Rs 124,000 by collecting Rs 4,500 each provided by the ADWAN as transportation fare, and Rs 90,000 saved from the amounts provided by the ADWAN to run a training session.

Like Rupa, Dil Kumari Nepali of Gamthale of Shahid Lakhan Rural Municipality-9 has reared 15 goats. Encouraged after undergoing training, she has now added goats taking the number of earlier nine to 15 goats. "I learned many things from the 15-day training. Ill goats should not be put in the same goat pen together with healthy ones. A goat pen should be always kept clean. Goat poop should be kept separate two times a week,” she said of what she learned from the training.

Last year, she covered educational fees of her son with money from selling three billy goats. She is covering household expenses, and providing education to her children with incomes from goat rearing. Encouraged, she is now planning to replace buffalos with goats. Maya Gurung of Gandaki Rural Municipality-1, member of ‘Devimai Koshish Mahila Krishak Samuha’ has reared 27 goats. She is managing household expenses from the incomes from goat rearing. Besides, she has grown orange farming.

Various 12 women’s agriculture groups have been formed in Shahid Lakhan Rural Municipality. These groups have grown vegetable farming, and reared goats, chicken and pigs. Various seven training sessions on agriculture, one on livestock and three on leadership development have taken place so far.

Similarly, various 11 women’s farmer groups have been formed in Gandaki Rural Municipality, and six training sessions on agriculture, one on livestock and two on leadership development have taken place.

Prithivi Maya, Rupa, Shanti, Dil Kumari and Maya are only in point. Many women have engaged in agricultural and animal farming, and are pursuing economic prosperity and independence. Women's engagement in business has spread a positive message and encouraged people to be self-dependent, observed local people. Ramesh Babu Thapa, chairperson of Shahid Lakhan Rural Municipality argued that women should be made self-reliant to remove gender discrimination from the society.

Source: National News Agency-Nepal