18 July 2017

Earthquake-hit farmers in Nepal rest hope on polyhouses

In 2015, when the 7.8-Magnitude earthquake in Nepal caused extensive damage to infrastructure and livelihoods of its people, many had lost hope that their lives would ever return to normal. Tek Bahadur, a 60-year-old farmer residing in Kubinde Tol village of Sindhupalchok district, was one of them. His son was killed in a bus accident more than five years ago and the only source of income for him was half-an-acre piece of agricultural land that fetched him an annual income of US $450.

Tek Bahadur can be seen working in his polyhouse 
On the morning of April 25, 2015, one of the worst temblors in 80 years for Nepal completely destroyed Bahadur’s house and left the already Below Poverty Line farmer destitute and in need of dire help. The following year, Bahadur came to know that Pragya was initiating the construction of poly houses to enable production of off-season vegetables for the households, under its Rebuilding Rural Nepal program. “For a farmer like me who had lost everything, a proposal to construct a polyhouse in his own land has brought a glimmer of hope,” says Bahadur. He was then encouraged to attend trainings that will impart  technical skills and knowledge to take forward the polyhouses that would be set up by Pragya.

Today, Bahadur treats the set up as his own physical asset for an increased livelihood and is trying his hand at growing both seasonal and off-seasonal vegetables. He and fellow beneficiaries have gained profits by selling the produce in nearby markets.

“Tomatoes, and more tomatoes in my field”

A polyhouse set up in Majhi's field
Kamala Majhi, a 35-year old female farmer in Sindhupalchowk, was another victim left empty handed by the earthquake. “Our house got damaged and utensils were found within the rubbles and we lost all means to make money,” says Majhi who was also a beneficiary of Pragya’s initiative to construct polyhouses in 100 plots, after stringent site and beneficiary assessment for selecting the most needy households.

Majhi has a polyhouse constructed in a rented piece of land where she has sowed some tomato seeds. “I am convinced that tomatoes will have higher yield than other vegetables and I know I will have many tomatoes to sell in the market,” says the farmer.

Bringing children back to schools

The earthquakes and aftershocks which struck Nepal in 2015 had an enormous impact on the country’s poorest communities. The effect on Nepal...