In the Far West of Nepal, food scarcity is a huge problem. Due to high altitudes and a harsh climate, food production is very low. The yearly harvest lasts for only 6-7 months and throughout the rest of the year, people must depend on subsidies from the Government, or purchase food from a local market. However, tunnel farming has supported families to grow and sell vegetables, whilst also introducing new techniques for sustainable livelihoods.
Tara Devi lives in Mugu and has a large family with 10 members. She recently became an active member of Janajagaran Women’s Group as her family mostly depends on farm works and a small shop to make living. Tara has been involved in agriculture since she was a child. Her family farm mainly focused on producing wheat, buckwheat, millet and potatoes, but a yearly harvest was only enough to last 6-7 months. For years, Tara worked hard to try and increase the yield so that she could earn a little extra for her family.
Finally, her wish to increase production became a reality, after she received vegetable production training from PHASE. She shared, “Through the training I learnt that in a challenging climate like here, it is essential to prepare and adjust accordingly. I learnt that with improved seeds, you can yield more and in a shorter time. It is great to learn new things!”
After the training concluded, Tara received improved seeds and materials for tunnel building. With the guidance of a PHASE livelihood officer, she has now built a tunnel where she has started producing off-seasonal vegetables. Recently, Tara has been able to sell cabbages, capsicums and tomatoes through her local shop, all of which are produced in her tunnel. She shares, “I feel stronger now that I can sell my products in my shop and add a little more income to my family. My efforts have helped me to meet the needs of my family.”
Tara is now able to make Rs.1500 by selling vegetables from her tunnel. She further shares, “Tunnel farming has helped me to beat the challenges of our climate. This is my first experience of tunnel farming, and it is amazing. I am planning to rent my neighbours land and add one more tunnel to increase my vegetable farm.”
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