Anita Dilmaya is a 35-year-old farmer from the village of Sunkhani in central Nepal. She and her husband struggle to support their three children with the small amount of maize and rice she harvests from her farmland. To make ends meet, Anita most recently worked as a temporary farm laborer for a nearby commercial vegetable farm and her husband took a part-time job in the local school cafeteria.
Last year, in Anita’s village, Vibrant Village Foundation began a three-year partnership with Nepal-based nonprofit, Society for Environmental Conservation and Agricultural Research and Development (SECARD). The livelihoods and organic gardening project has engaged Anita, and other village residents like her, in trainings on organic gardening, bio-pest management and reducing chemical inputs. She is an active member of her local farmers’ group and has recently begun her own small-scale commercial farming, applying her newly gained skills.
With SECARD’s help, Anita built a small greenhouse on her property where she grows tomatoes, beans and other vegetables. SECARD provided the bamboo and plastic, and neighboring farmers took turns helping assemble their structures. For the first time, she is selling excess produce, and has earned a substantial income from her vegetable farm.
In her first year, Anita has sold about 300 kilograms of tomatoes, bringing in $200 of income. She says, “With this extra income earned from the commercial vegetable production from my own land, we do not need to hire out our labor to tiresome work at a much lower rate.”