Rajendra Giri, CONNECT District Manager
When I was deputised to Sahajpur in Doti two months ago I didn’t know what to expect. My assignment was to support the ginger farmers in our business partners’ downstream supply chain down the Sahajpur corridor to open bank accounts, receive value chain financing and apply for organic certification for their farms.
Bogatan, Doti in the Far Western Development Region of Nepal, is known for organic ginger and turmeric production and ginger and turmeric farming are the main sources of incomes. The Far West of Nepal is underdeveloped and most people are engaged in subsistence farming. A stable business oriented agriculture system has not developed, though there is potential. For the 600 households in RAP3 CONNECT’s baseline, the production ratio is 1:8 for ginger production and the average ratio of ginger production is 1 .5 ton per household per year.
The geography in this place is unforgiving; the villages scattered and remote. Not only was I losing time in transit with each field visit, I was terrified travelling on the risky roads but I persevered and day by day became comfortable travelling by public bus and motorbike going home to home and meeting with the local farmers and traders.
At first I was met by expectations for the traditional agriculture development support such as investment in irrigation, systematic organic cultivation, seed storing and training on cultivation and harvesting. My first task, therefore was to inform farmers in the supply chain about the CONNECT modality, the support offered and value chain financing. Motivating them to engage in the process.
Our business partner Organic Mountain Flavor Pvt. Ltd (OMF), an exporter of high value spices has established a processing facility on the Doti - Kailali border, the entry point for Bogatan. With our support OMF is strengthening their downstream ginger and turmeric supply chain in the area, following the CONNECT modality. CONNECT is providing technical support and market system development assistance and leading the community level engagement to form micro business clusters, determining local village collection points and appointing Yuva Vayus (in-community volunteers responsible for motivating and shepherding micro business cluster members).
Transportation, storage and access to market are problems for farmers in this area and the culture remains to cultivate ginger as a cash crop.
To date we have completed 350 individual farmers value chain financing paperwork with buyback guarantees offered for ginger and turmeric and anticipate that all accounts will be open by the end of May 2017. In this first, short season OMF has collected and processed 24 metric tons of ginger. We hope that beyond our partnership OMF will be a strong independent employment creator and a leader of economic development in Nepal established through public private partnership approach.
Based on what I have seen, I believe ginger production in this area has a long term future.
CONNECT’s partnership with OMF and our investment in the supply chain is giving hope to ginger farmers; their smiles flow.