Fertilisers from local medicinal herbs
CHANDRA KARKI – TERHATHUM , JAN 22 –
Prompted by the downturn in market for vegetables grown using chemical fertilisers, farmers from Phulek VDC in the district have shifted to organic farming. Authorities concerned said that although the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides can result in bigger harvests, they affect the growth potentiality of soil and the health of people and animals.
Farmer Hom Rayamajhi of Phulek said that pests attack vegetables such as cabbages, cauliflowers and potatoes despite the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides. Farmers are now using local medicinal herbs to prepare organic fertilisers, which has a 50 percent lower production cost. Organic vegetables also fetch better prices in the market. Vegetables produced in the VDC are exported to Dharan, Biratnagar, Birtamod, Narayanghat, Birgunj, Pokhara, Kathmandu and as far as Siliguri and Kolkata in India. Farmer Shyam Gurung said that better returns from organic farming had brought about a marked change in their lifestyles. They are no longer dependent on others for money to run their households and enroll their children in school, said Gurung. Farmers in the area sold organic vegetables worth around Rs 193 million last year.
Kumar Magar, the manager of the Sagarmatha Community Multipurpose Cooperatives, said his office helps farmers buy improved seeds and provides them with techniques on using organic fertilisers and botanical insecticides.
The District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), for its part, has declared the area a ‘pocket area’ for vegetable farming. Satyadev Mandal, the DADO chief, said his office has been distributing seeds and imparting training on organic farming to help make farmers independent.