‘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.

Dipak Prasad Koirala handling over the Junar plants to Fulmaya Tamang as her husband passes other saplings from the truck 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.

Planting the first Junar sapling at Bhattedadha, from the right (Bhattedadha cooperative representatives Fulmaya Tamang and Goma Timilsina), Dipak Prasad Koirala (representative of Junar cooperative at Sindhuli) and Buddhi Bahadur Palpali (Model Junar farmer and nursery owner at Sindhuli).

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?!”

Dipak getting the felicitation by Catrin on SNASEA 2013.

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.

Members of the BWFC raised their hands in support of Junar plantations.

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.

Dipak sharing the Junar plantation technique with the Bhattedadha farmers at Sindhuli.
The farmers visited the Junar Cooperative and learnt about its processing and plantation steps.

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.

Local farmers waiting for the truck to arrive at Bhattedadha.

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.

CFN Director with Fulmaya holding the Junar saplings.
Junar saplings inside the truck.
The entire team from Sindhuli with the farmers lined up for a group photo.

The farmers were overjoyed to see the saplings and they worked together to keep it on the safe place for distribution later.

The farmers happy and delighted to carry the Junar saplings.

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.

Capturing the farmers group with the team marching to the plantation site.
The farmers with our team member Sajana reaching the plantation site.
The local digging up the planatation site as Dipak and the exerpt from Sindhuli supervise.
The first sapling is planted.

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.

Mittu is happy to receive the Junar saplings and wishes to see them grow in her field.
Hom Kumar is thankful to the team for this opportunity to explore Junar possibilities.
This boy was excited to see Junar plantation so he ran for 20 minutes to reach on time from home.
Geeta was at the Sindhuli trip so she had planned to take 26 saplings already. She is happy that the day of planting has arrived.
Soma Rani says she is excited now and will be more happy to reap the harvest and see the blooming of white flowers.
Some women farmers even bought the ‘Doko’ (traditional goods carrier) to keep their saplings.
View inside the ‘doko’.

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.

Fulmaya collecting the plants money from the farmers so that they feel ownership and take charge of it.

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.

Armin Fischer during his visit to Bhaktapur, Nepal.

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.

ChnageFusion Nepal team with social entrepreneurs, Dipak, Goma and Fulmaya.

Thank you.

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