Success Stories

Kanchha Tamang leads a Group 60 Strawberry Farmers

December 30, 2008

Kanchha Tamang, 44, a resident of Okharpauwa VDC-6, is known as a leading strawberry farmer in the area, who also leads a community group of 60 strawberry farmers.He started growing strawberry in his home yard almost 13 years ago after he has seen some strawberry grown in the Kakani Farm. First he started out of his interest to grow a new crop just to try to confirm whether this new crop can be grown in his field. The successful result of the trial motivated him to adopt strawberry farming as a new source of family income. Now he is growing strawberry in two Ropani of his land and making it as a sure source of regular income.

Kanchha Tamang comes from a Indegeneous Nationalities and belong to a low income family. Kanchha, a father of three said, earlier he had hard time to meet the family's daily requirements and stationeries for schooling going children. He said, now the income from strawberry has helped not only to meet his family's daily requirements but also improved the overall wellbeing of the family. According to him, due to the new source of income from strawberry, he has been able to improve his house replacing the thatch roof with corrugated sheet. As he said, strawberry farmers in his group started getting better profit when they participated in the entrepreneurship training provided by MEDEP. After the training they not only learned on how to link their product with market, and get better price of the products but they also formed a strawberry farmer's group and operated business through group.

"Before, some middle men used to come to buy strawberry from individual farmers in very low price. But after the training we formed a group of strawberry farmers and some one among the group members collect the products and take to the market. After the new arrangement by the group, we are getting more profit then ever before" Kanchha said.

Kanchha is earning Rs. 150,000 a year from selling the strawberry grown in two Ropani of his land. He still wants to expand the areas under strawberry cultivation provided there is assured market for fresh strawberry and other products like jam, squash, marmalade, candy et. Considering the highly soft and perishable nature of the product, time and again, Kanchha seems to be worried about the marketing of the fresh strawberries, instead, after they have received entrepreneurship training provided by MEDEP, Kanchha and his group members are more oriented towards product diversification such as production of jam, squash, marmalade, candy etc. After the jam making training provided by MEDEP, Kanchha and his group members are making strawberry jam and supplying to Organic Village in Kathmandu.

During our conversation, he innocently raised a sensible issue that Okharpauwa VDC (Kakani area) should be declared as a 'Strawberry Area' and given a national importance as given to Ilam for tea production. According to him, declaring 'Strawberry Area" not only encourages them to adopt strawberry farming as community enterprise but it also draws government attention towards the development of strawberry cultivation in Nepal.

There thousands of rural farmers whose production from limited areas of land is not enough to sustain their livelihoods. However, potentiality is always there to get additional income even from the limited areas of land through adoption of entrepreneurship and appropriate technologies. In this case, Kanchha Tamang has given an example that he could earn an income of Rs. 150,000 from strawberry grown in about two Ropani of his Bari land.

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