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Meet the farmer who turned barren land into lush-green vegetable farm

Three year ago, Yuvraj Shrestha of Khurkot, Sindhuli, decided to discontinue subsistence farming in which his family had been involved for generations. He decided to switch to more modern form of farming.

Shrestha, also a teacher at a local school, put in papers when he thought his job would not allow him to concentrate fully on his new agri-business. The choice was not easy to make, and the future looked uncertain.

There are many people in the village, who aspire to become teachers one day, but for Shrestha, the job was simply not enough to challenge his skills. He needed something more, and commercial vegetable farming was what he wanted to do.

Shrestha’s early days, like any new entrant in the business, was plagued with challenges. He did not have money, nor did he have his own vehicle. Above all, he did not even have enough land to produce cash crops. The challenges were so daunting that even his wife could not muster courage to deal with them. Eventually, she left him.

But that did not deter him. He took on the challenge head-on, one by one. He looked for land near Manthali Bazzaar and came across unused fields that belonged to different individuals. He leased a total of 52 ropanis of land for his farm for a period of five-ten years.

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He looked for land near Manthali Bazaar and came across barren fields

He says: “The reason why I wanted land near the bazaar was the market demand for fresh vegetables. I knew my business idea would work as long as there was a high demand. And with the short distance it’s easier to transport my produce to the market.”

Some of the land that Shrestha got was being used for grazing.

“Occasionally, people would come up to me and ask me if I was crazy. Why would I want to farm on land used for grazing? I would simply not let the comments affect me.”

With an initial investment of Rs 200,000-300,000, he started his project, Bihani Vegetable Farm. He had borrowed the money from his close friends and relatives. There was a market for fresh vegetables in Manthali and soon his farm products were making it to the market.

The business is now valued at around Rs 7,00,000-8,00,000. His total income every year is around Rs 200,000. Just a few weeks ago, he bought some land near the farm.

Over the years, he tied the knot again, and his second wife is involved in the day-to-day business of the farm. He has hired one full time employee to help out at his farm. He was recognised as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs of the District by the Daayitwa Enterprise Challenge.

With demand for fresh vegetables ever increasing, Shrestha has made his presence felt in Salu, Sabutar, and Thosey Bazaar. He plans to supply his farm’s produce to Kalimati Vegetable Market in Kathmandu too.

The author is associated with Daayitwa.

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