Vegetable production in our land was only sufficient for six months and we depended on daily wage income for remaining months to survive,” remembered Penmaya, Tamang, 45, from Salleri village in Khaniyabas rural municipality – 3, Dhading. Penmaya’s husband worked as a wage labour in their village to support their family. Both wife and husband had to struggle to make ends meet.
During the vulnerability assessment carried out through Purnima programme in Dhading, Penmaya’s family was identified as a resource-poor household. “The team invited me to talk about different kinds of livelihood that I could pursue according to my interests,” said Penmaya, who was very excited to be receiving extra support to hone her skills on off-seasonal vegetable production and make a better living.
Penmaya received seed support as well as materials for building a poly-house which included polythene, poly-pipes, and a drum for water. Similarly, she also received technical guidance for soil preparation, nursery raising, transplantation, staking the plant, thinning the dense leaves, insect prevention measures, irrigation and fertilization and harvesting for the market. Penmaya happily shares, “they provided me with seeds of tomato, bitter gourd, chili and cucumber.” She along with her husband-built poly-tunnel to start off her farming endeavor.
Today, at her poly-house, Penmaya grows different vegetables and markets them in nearby shops. She has already earned an income of around 35,000 Nepali rupees. “Beside a good earning, I am happy that I produce, sell and consume vegetables grown in my own home which is making me independent and financially secure,” she states. Observing her success with poly-house farming, her neighbors are praising her for her dedication and effort.
Penmaya is one of the first in her village to involve in poly-house vegetable farming, and she has become a sought-out person from whom the villagers buy locally grown vegetables. Lockdown induced by COVID-19 pandemic had severely affected the price, demand and supply of the vegetables. However, Penmaya’s vegetables fulfilled those demand of local customer and small grocery shops. “Customers called me for their required vegetables and comes for the pickup,” shared Penmaya. For a resource-poor family, Penmaya’s off-seasonal vegetable farming not only provided food security for the family but also a steady source of income for their future.
Text: DanChurchAid (DCA)
Photo by: Shreekanta Paudel