Vegetable farmers activities during Covid-19 lockdown

With the outbreak of COVID-19, Pandemic all sphere of people's life is affected globally including in Nepal. The joint initiative between International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Government of Nepal's— Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies RER(Samriddhi) Project also couldn't be left different.

Project has selected "Green Vegetables" as one of the supply chains to bust-up the inclusive growth of markets and develop its associated local clusters. Currently, 34 different vegetable farmers groups from project intervention areas are aligned with the project.

Due to the government imposed lockdown to tackle the spread of CoronaVirus, support programs for project generated farmers' groups; activities on production and marketing of those groups have been limited.

Despite of the Pandemic crises, project associated vegetable farmer's groups are engaged in production and supply of vegetables by maintaining physical distancing and personal preventive measures as an idea to cope with the new situation. For example, one of the beneficiaries Ms Jasmaya Magar-Treasurer, Setidevi Potato Seed Development Agriculture Group, Okhaldhunga explaining her everyday activities says— "During this lockdown, avoiding large gatherings, our family members are working on respective fields separately, where some are involved to kneel potatoes, planting cauliflower and others go to collect fodder for livestock diet from the jungle".   

Samriddhi Project from the initial stage is organizing Multi-Stakeholders Platform (MSP) workshops and B2B linkages programs to interlink farmers groups with related institutions, traders, service providers and stakeholders.

Because of this joint venture, farmers are progressively developing the culture of market oriented collective farming; market-led production plan in accordance to traders' demand, analyzing cost-benefit of produces and being selective of High Valued Seasonal and Off-Seasonal vegetables farming.

Similarly, the project has been providing grant support to the selected green vegetable producers group, private technical service providers, processors and occupational farmers. After getting the grant, some of the farmers group initiated commercial vegetable farming.

After getting the information of collective farming in selective villages, traders and business people have started for vegetable business deals. Farmers nowadays are immensely happy because the problem of roaming to find market walking long hours is highly reduced.  Manager of Bimbika Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Supply Centre, Itahari-Sunsari admits —" Samriddhi project from the very initial stage has been quite supportive to get introduced and reach with project generated farmers groups. Then import goods from farmers. We wouldn't have been able to collaborate with those farmers groups in the absence of a project. The project coordinated effort has been very much helpful for us".

Similarly, Project is providing technical training in modernizing agriculture farming together with business development knowledge to farmers' groups. Because of this on the one hand youths are being attracted towards Agriculture and on the other hand employment opportunities have been generated in the local level that has uplifted smallholder farmers' economic activities and livelihood.