Nepali woman entrepreneur’s lesson: Patience pays, panic does not

Six years ago, Hari Maya Lama Moktan of Daduwa-1, Ramechhap decided to focus her energy on turning her traditional farm to a commercial one that grew fruits and herbs.

It had taken her 44 years (that’s how old she is) to understand that traditional farming would never get her money enough to take good care of her family’s needs.

She had to do something different, and after going around looking for new ideas, she decided that fruits and herbs were the future of farming. As with any innovation in villages, her’s was met with skepticism from her neighbours and villagers. “They said I was wasting time and effort on the project, and that it would not yield anything,” remembers Moktan.

At first, they seemed to be right.

Moktan’s farm was not close to the road, and labourers were not easy to hire.

But Moktan knew that her patience and perseverance would see her through. Her farm was not close to the road, and labourers were not easy to hire. The neighbours took notice of this, and continued discouraging her. “I had no other option but to pay up to Rs. 250 to labourers for a day’s work, that too at a time when the rate was just around Rs. 50-60.”

“The second problem was getting the seeds and the saplings from the market, and ferrying my produce to the market,” she recounts.

Both the issues were beyond her control. So she decided to focus on things that she could control, and patiently wait for it to change.

Undeterred, she took the risk of starting a nursery on her four ropani land, and grew various types of fruits on 8 more ropanis of rented land. “Given the lack of infrastructure, I had to utilise the local resources,” she says.

It was only a matter of time before her labour started bearing fruit. “My annual income is more than Rs. 400 thousand. When I was able to show that fruits could bring in more income, many villagers started getting interested. Now, majority of the villagers have their own nursery and have started growing fruits.”

“Things have changed now. It’s easier to do business. The roads have improved, there is sufficient workers. My husband too helps me in each and every aspect of the business. I’m happy with my work,” she states.

Her farm now gives full-time employment to four youths from her village. During the busy seasons, she hires more workers on daily wage basis.

At present, her main market is Manthali Bazaar of Ramechhap. She plans to expand her business by increasing her land holdings, says Moktan, one of the top 10 contenders for the Daayitwa Enterprise Challenge 2015/16.

Author is associated with Daayitwa.

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