Improving composting and fertilising techniques of conventional and commercial vegetable farmers in Nepal
In 2016, Nepal produced about 4 million metric tons of vegetables, cultivated on 280.807 hectares of land. The average production per hectare was about 14 metric tons. This amount is significantly lower than the one of developed countries. One of the causes is that Nepalese farmers use hazardous chemical pesticides to increase productivity, especially in vegetable production. The farmers are not able to judge the fertiliser’s quality yet and do not know how much to use of it. On the other hand, the consumer’s awareness of quality vegetable production is increasing.
This evolution forces vegetable growers to find new and alternative methods to earn more with less investment and apply safe and hygienic vegetable production methods at the same time. In order to tackle these challenges, some commercial vegetable farmers are converting their farm lands into greenhouses.
The photo was taken during the field visit program for the participants as part of the training. From right: Perry van Adrichem (Flynth), Gerard Bot (facilitated by Agriterra), Martien Beek (facilitated by PUM), Nelson Shrestha (Managing Director of N Agro) and Sumit Shrestha (CEO of TrueFarms, Team member of N Agro).
In the face of this situation, we set up a project that encourages large-scale and smaller-scale commercial vegetable farmers of District Agricultural Cooperative Union (DACU) Makwanpur to produce bio-compost for vegetable production. In addition, we aim to help them grow vegetables in greenhouse facilities using modern fertigation techniques. This initiative is expected to generate more productivity and income for the farmers. With the financial support of Mestbank Zuid, the project was launched in July 2018 and will be concluded at mid-2019.
The project is a joint venture of Agriterra Nepal and one of our clients, DACU Makwanpur. N-Agro, a private seed company, gives technical support in bio-compost production to commercial vegetable farmers and fertigation technology to greenhouse growers. PUM Netherlands senior experts provided the expert for the training.
DACU Makwanpur has selected 18 commercial vegetable farmers from its network who are actively involved in commercial tunnel vegetable farming and who have shown willingness to support other farmers. The selected farmers receive regular technical support from Junior Technical Assistance. DACU Makwanpur created profiles and case studies of these 18 farmers and promoted them across its network.
Gerard Bot worked for about 35 years in the forefront of Dutch greenhouse technology.
Agriterra and N-Agro provided the training on “Greenhouse Cultivation with focus on Substrate Application and Nutrient Management” to 20 enthusiastic greenhouse growers outside the network of the union. Resource persons and experts for this training were Gerard Bot and Perry van Adrichem (sent by Agriterra) and Martien Beek (provided by PUM) from the Netherlands. The participants acquired a good understanding of the principles of greenhouse climate, fertigation & production on substrate and IPM. They have become acquainted with the key aspects of successful greenhouse production systems at a level that is suitable for Nepalese conditions. It was probably the first time that this kind of training was provided in Nepal.
In the framework of the project, Agriterra Nepal will organise an exchange visit programme of commercial vegetable farmers and greenhouse growers and develop a platform where they will continuously interact and learn from each other. The project aims to convert commercial farmers into greenhouse growers. Agriterra, Union and N-Agro will encourage the participants to share their best practices and local solutions with other farmers within and beyond the union’s network.
Participants received certificate after successful completion of the training on “Greenhouse Cultivation with focus on Substrate Application and Nutrient Management”