From farmer to entrepreneur, with Norlha
They are the new entrepreneurs emerging from Norlha’s development projects. Thanks to our support they have been able to launch new sustainable businesses and generate much-needed income for their families. Among them, Hira Sing produces honey and Tara Bhadur is a farmer who manufactures sauces and jam.
Tara Bhadur is a 19-year-old farmer. He is part of a family of five living in a small village in Humla, Nepal. Hira Sing believes puts his age at around 52 and is married with five children. He is an electrician maintaining services in the few homes lucky to have electricity and earning around 10,000 rupees a month (90 CHF).
Humla is one of the most remote and difficult places to reach in Nepal. It is an extremely mountainous region in the far north west of the country with a population of around 44,000 scattered throughout the many isolated villages. It is a nine day hike from the nearest road to reach the district capital Simikot, and six days from China. The only other way is by air, if the weather is good enough.
It is one of the poorest parts of Nepal. The villagers are mainly subsistence farmers who are not always able to live the entire year on what they grow. The mountainous terrain severely hampers agriculture. Farm land is rare, limited in size and difficult to reach. Norlha, along with its local partner Nepal Trust, strives to find new activities for the local population in an effort to stamp out extreme poverty, reduce infant mortality and improve health through better nourishment.
Honey and jam – the bread and butter of development
Tara Bhadur has taken advantage of several training courses organized by Norlha through Nepal Trust. He has added value to his crops by turning them into jams and sauces. Hira Sing has been trained in beekeeping and honey production, an ideal money making activity as it requires little land in an area where it is in short supply.
Tara has been able to increase his production thanks to the training he has received. He has dug out terraces to maximise the amount of land available and built three greenhouses to grow more vegetables, even out of season. He sells his crops in his village and at the market in Simikot. The remainder he turns into sauces and jams. Tara and his family managed to produce 35 kilos of apple jam and around ten kilos of tomato sauce earning 25,000 Nepalese rupees (230 CHF).
Better still, Tara now supplies two hotels in Simikot which helps assures sales. Tara has successfully set up a family business registered with the local Cottage and Small Industry Development Board which supports small enterprises and has already promised help with new equipment so Tara’s business can expand.
A total of five other farmers have registered similar businesses with the development board including two women, Bijaya Bhandari et Baduma Rokaya. As well as producing jams and sauces they are learning to make potato crisps along with dried fruit and vegetables. They are also looking towards China as a potential market for their goods.
Hira Sing now has two beehives thanks to the equipment and training provided by Norlha. He has quickly become a respected beekeeper who acts as an advisor to others. In a single year Hira has produced and sold 80 kilos of honey (730 CHF) which has seen his income rise by an astonishing 70%! He reinvested this money to set up a market garden growing a range of vegetables from carrots to cauliflowers. Hira and his family have also built a greenhouse, installed a drip irrigation system and created terracing on the land. Hira was identified as a model farmer by the farming Development Office in Humla and selected for an advanced course in apiculture in Kathmandu. This will allow him to train other beekeepers in the region.
Tara and Hira are just two of the new entrepreneurs emerging from Norlha’s projects. This entrepreneurial spirit has brought about benefits for them and their entire communities by generating wealth and expertise. Twelve other beekeepers, chosen because they have no farmland to cultivate, including four women have also started producing honey. There are a total of 320 farmers, half of them women, that have taken part in Norlha’s general farming programme. A total of more than 7,000 people have benefitted from Norlha’s actions in Humla.
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