Most of the people believed that the only way to earn enough money is through foreign employment. That believe has been challenged and proved wrong by the work of Dharche rural municipality.
In 2016, with the financial support of BLF UK, PHASE Nepal introduced Kiwi saplings to the farmers of Kashigau, Kerauja and Hulchuk in Gorkha district. Initially, 228 saplings were piloted with 38 farmers. With enough difficult and barren land to cultivate, Kiwi farming now is taken as good source of income by many. Several people are putting their effort in Kiwi production. The Kiwi farming also got into the interest of many people because after the 2015 earthquake most of the lands were left barren and the altitude is just right for Kiwi framing.
Dhanman Gurung, 37, is one of the members in the community who is an exemplary person in successful Kiwi farming. He was skeptical to start a Kiwi farm because of fear of being criticized in the community.
He shared, “I had the fear that people would criticize me for getting his hands dirty. I am also a teacher by profession. But my enthusiasm didn’t stop me. I have enough family land which was left barren. I always wanted to utilize these lands.”
Now he has Kiwi farm in about 5 ropani of his land. He is glad about his decision. Last year he earned, Rs. 42,000 from selling only 60 kg of Kiwi.
He also shared that he is planning to extent his kiwi farm. Along with his last year’s income, this year he has invested Rs. 90,000 on his farm. He added some more plants, build strong support to the plant, and a proper fence to his farm.
He shared, “I aim is to make is a sustainable source of income for my family. I am learning the grafting technics with PHASE technical supervisors. In the future I am planning to be the first one to produce Kiwi plant in my village. I am planning to start the Kiwi nursery.”
Just like him, other farmers are also putting effort on the kiwi production. To name a few are Keshab Ghale, Maeli BK, Dhanmaya Ghale, Kiran Ghale, Setimaya Ghale, BegMaya Gurung, Kachi Gurung, Kanchhe Gurung, Kaman Singh Gurung who have succeeded in Kiwi production.
Their Kiwi production was celebrated with an agricultural team visit to their farms ins Dharche 1, 2, and 6 in 2018/19. The team observed the Kiwi farms in the rural municipality. The team included 20 representatives with Agriculture Service technician, Ward chairperson and other farmer’s group members.
During the visit, Dilip Gurung, ward chairperson, remarked, “I am glad with the decision to introduce Kiwi in this place. Now we can praise the decision with the result around us. Because of this we have been successful at getting a budget from Central level for fruit production for Dharche regularly. The success should be shared with PHASE Nepal. Their technical support is of great support to our farmers in solving issues on the farm.”
With enough barren land and encouragement from the Ward, many people are getting interested in fruit plantation. The local people are understanding the easy and multipurpose of planting fruits in the barren lands. Initially, as encouragement, the local authorities have allocated a total budget of Rs. 1,491,400 in year 2076/77 for Dharche, rural municipality to distributed Kiwi and other fruit plants in the community.
We have been regularly providing technical support to the Kiwi farmers. With regular field visits, our field supervisors and junior technicians have been supporting the farmers on taking proper care of nutrition, weeding, and timely grafting, and solving issues on the plant. In the last 4 years, more than 2,000 Kiwi plants in Dharche rural municipality have started yielding the fruits.
The interest in Kiwi farming seems to be rising. Several people are personally investing in the Kiwi saplings. Easy access to Phase Technical support, encouragement from the local authorities, and knowledge on the nutritional value of Kiwi in the Nepali market, it is a sustainable source of Income. Kiwi farming could be an exemplary profession for youth working in foreign lands and a sustainable method to preserve soil.