Transformation in livelihood through vegetable production
Mrs. Kantha Kumari Singh is uneducated single woman aged 52 with 9 other family members of Khagenkot VDC-1, Chamakhet, Jajarkot who is famously known as vegetable (seasonal & off-seasonal) farmer. Living on rural area, she often suffered with poverty and was unable to cope with daily expenditure even to buy or consume nutritious food items from the local market due to low purchasing capacity and limited source of income.
Similarly, she was not well familiar with improved farming skill and technologies as well and relied on conventional cultivation of rice and maize with few livestock. Drastic change on her livelihood began when she joined a group named Chharekhola Agriculture Women Farmer Group formed with the initiation of PAHAL, as a member, she got motivated towards vegetable farming getting involved in every activity of that group. She got different trainings like; Group Management/Good Governance, Production Planning, Kitchen Garden Training, Vegetable Production & High Yielding Variety etc. Along with the trainings PAHAL field team provided technical support on cultivation practices of bitter guard, Bhaktapur local cucumber, pumpkin, brinjal, tomato, Chilli etc. with fully technical Support.
Further, technical support and guidance along with her effort she started vegetable cultivation around in one ropani land, and was able to produce and sell vegetables in local markets (Kalimati and Radi Jiula bazar). She sold around 370 kg vegetables items (Brinjal, Pumpkin, capsicum, bitter guard etc.) at the rate of 60-110 rupees/kg and able to earn around 29000 rupees from about 500 meter square of land. This income helped her to support her daughter and grandsons and on buying daily needs. Furthermore, some income was used on education of her little grandson too as they live together. Now she says, ‘I was alone without my husband and cannot afford living but as your PAHAL program came, it helped me and my family to earn money. I am amazed that we can improve living standard through vegetable farming and moreover, this has increased my prestige on society too (laughingly).”
A right strategy and approaches has resulted in better income benefits through agriculture production, and could enhance long term resilience capacity of marginalized community members and improved livelihoods. Finally, women of Jajarkot, especially in PAHAL VDCs are not weaker but can do the farm along with their regular domestic work hence, economic empowerment of women through agriculture based production is must.