‘Dharti’: 1200 saplings of Junar plantation at Bhattedadha
July 2nd’15 marks the symbolic day of the amalgam of our two social entrepreneurs and winners of Surya Nepal Asha Social Entrepreneurship Award (SNASEA) 2013, Fulmaya Tamang and Dipak Prasad Koirala for their initiation of Junar (a variety of orange citrus fruit) farming at Bhattedadha.
The plantation is done with the coming together of the social ventures Bhattedandha Women Farmers Cooperative and Junar Kendriya Sahakari Sangh Sindhuli as a pilot phase towards making Bhattedadha, an archetype of Sindhuli for commercial Junar Farming.
ChangeFusion Nepal for the past year had been devising plans to uplift the Bhattedadha Women Farmers Cooperative (BWFC) after they won SNASEA 2013. The BWFC is mostly engaged with saving and credit with challenges in adopting a feasible income generation source. Our team explored the possibilities for the BWFC with our group of experts along with a VSO volunteer Daphne De Souza. The ideas were to use milk and upgrade it into a dairy production and the locally available resources into a product for revenue generation. Then it was Catrin Froehlich, who had given the award to Dipak at SNASEA 2013 said, “Why not Junar like Sindhuli for Bhattedadha?!”
Sindhuli is regarded as the Junar Capital of Nepal where the farmers have adopted commercial farming practices with a yearly sales figure in millions. Then we called in Dipak and asked regarding the feasibility of the Junar plantations at Bhattedadha and he informed about the huge market of this prospect and that it would be a coordination instead of competition with Sindhuli and we were excited for making this plan a reality.
On February 11th’15 Dipak visited Bhattedadha and met Fulmaya along with the BWFC members, he gave an orientation regarding the opportunities with Junar farming and its techniques. He bought the farmers calender and shared the basics about Junar plantations with the group.
Then when the Change Fusion Nepal Director Luna Shrestha Thakur asked how many were interested in the Junar plantation, everyone raised their hands in unison.
As they were farmers who learn more by seeing and doing then by listening, we decided to take few of them on a field visit to Sindhuli with our team. Then on March 8th’15 we headed for the Junar District were five BWFC representative visited the nursery, Junar plantation site and the processing factory building.
We had then made plans for the pilot phase of plantation where each farmer could take at least plant 3–10 saplings which takes around 2-3 years to grow and harvest. The pilot phase will determine the taste of the Junar and give an estimation for scaling in upcoming years. The plantations were to commence two weeks ago on June but it got postponed as the saplings needed rain to take it out from the nursery. Dipak said if the saplings were rooted directly, then the roots would dry out after the 5 hours commute to Bhattedadha, so we had to wait for the rainfall at Sindhuli.
Then on July 2nd, the farmers were eagerly waiting an hour earlier for the Junar truck to arrive with our team. They had already booked the plants and some were already talking about planting as soon as they get it.
When the truck arrived with technical experts from Sindhuli, the atmosphere was zealous. Around fifty farmers had already gathered to welcome the Sindhuli team and our CFN director with Fulmaya were extremely happy that they got on the truck to see the fresh Junar saplings.
The farmers were overjoyed to see the saplings and they worked together to keep it on the safe place for distribution later.
Next, the entire group moved towards the plantation site which was few minutes downhill and it belonged to the BWFC co-founder Goma Timilsina. There the experts from Sindhuli, demonstrated the plantation steps and the discussed the ways to look after the plants with the local farmers.
Then the group is headed up for the distribution of saplings to the farmers as per they demand basis. The distribution event is with much enthusiasm and happiness and some glimpses can be seen below.
As it started drizzling the same day, we were informed that many had already started plantations whereas many others showed up to collect their plants once they found out it was already delivered at the village.
The task of reaping a good harvest within few years now lies on the hands of the individual farmers who need to love and take care of the soil and the plant according to the instructions by the Sindhuli experts. One of the farmers, asked Dipak as to whether they will get market after producing the fruits to which he replied he can guarantee purchases and even do a contract now with the farmers that their efforts will not go in vain.
Additionally, it is to be informed that for the saplings the farmers’ cooperative had contributed the amount themselves as each farmer has invested on their own plants. This has brought in a sense of ownership among the farmers who will now be active in looking after the Junar plants.
ChangeFusion Nepal has assisted in covering the transportation and technical assistance as supported by Armin Fischer along with postrap artists and supporters. Armin was at Thamel during the Nepal visit trip during the 25.4.2015 earthquake and raised funds to such project which makes optimal use of the resources and cares for sustainability at the same time. We are thankful to Armin and the collective effort of postrap label for this notable contribution.
Lastly, we will be posting updates of our subsequent follow up on the pilot phase of Junar plantations at Bhattedadha. We hope that this collective step will transform the lives of over 3oo farming households by giving them an identity and aspiration for a sustainable livelihood in coming days.