Sher Bahadur Sahi (Suraj) is a 35 year-old commercial farmer from Satyawati Rural Municipality in Gulmi District. He previously farmed on a small scale but started commercial-scale farming when Paicho established a new collection center in Satyawati which he says encouraged him because of their assurance to buy vegetables directly from farmers.
To date, he leased 1.25 acres of land and planted vegetables including: tomato, cauliflower, carrot, radish, peas and coriander, all for sale for this season. Once harvested, he would have the option of selling these to Paicho at a fixed rate or at the prevailing market rates.
Although Paicho has set up a collection center in the village near his farm, where local villagers can aggregate their produce, Suraj would have the option of having his produce collected from his farm by Paicho, due to the scale of his production. CASA has supported Paicho in conducting a mapping study to establish various collection centers in the new location so that farmers like Suraj can have proximity to bring their produce.
Also, with CASA’s support, Paicho provided an agriculture technician who helped Suraj set up his vegetable farm and gives him technical assistance. The technician visits the farm weekly and provides advice on vegetable farming techniques and on appropriate vegetables to grow. The technician has also provided advise on establishing a nursery for seedlings, building polytunnels, setting up trellises, weeding, pest control etc. and advised. Suraj says he is happy with the support provided by the technician.
His current expenses GBP150 per year to lease the land, about GBP 6 per day for 3 labourers’ wages; while the cost of other inputs like fertiliser, bamboo, polytunnels, mulching sheets were mostly covered by a grant of GBP 125 from the provincial government. He estimates that if the prices are good, he will earn around GBP 1,060 this season and he can have up to three seasons in a year.
Suraj says, previously it was hard to sell vegetable locally and his produce would not get appropriate price. But now he is encouraged to farm on a larger scale as Paicho would buy any volume of his produce. There are at least three other farmers in his village who like him have started commercial vegetable farming on nearby farms.