Man Maya Lama and her husband own a small tea shop in Manikapur village in Nepal's mid-western Banke district, but they struggle to earn enough to feed their two children. When USAID's Flood Recovery Program started its income-generation activities in their district, Lama jumped at the opportunity to get involved. She desperately wanted to improve her family's finances, and the only solution apparent to her was optimizing the use of the family-owned land. The acreage was small but that wasn't the main problem; her agricultural skills and knowledge were rudimentary and obsolete.
Lama had tried farming on her 0.3 hectares of land but never produced enough to feed her family, much less a surplus to sell. USAID introduced Lama to new high-value crops that were nutritious for her family and in demand at the local market. Lama learned cultivation techniques to grow cucumbers, long beans, eggplant, pumpkins and cauliflower. Her first crop cycle generated sales of Nepali Rupees (NRs) 45,000, or $600. Later, she was able to buy an additional 0.2 hectares and pay for new clothes and school fees for her children.
During the second crop cycle, USAID helped Lama build a nursery to produce high-quality seedlings. She added cabbage, chilies and tomatoes to diversify her farm. The new crops generated around $800. With it, Lama bought supplies to extend her home and a cow to provide milk for her family. She also harvested 50 kilograms of chilies to sell between harvests.
Lama is one of 38 farmers receiving assistance from USAID in Manikapur, where the program has installed six shallow tube wells with motorized pumps and two drip irrigation sets. The program has also established demonstration plots to teach more farmers how to grow high-value crops using her new knowledge and techniques.
Since 2008, USAID has worked with flood-affected communities in over 76 villages of the Terai region of Nepal, increasing farmer productivity and income; rehabilitating and developing small-scale infrastructure; improving awareness of sanitation, nutrition, gender and protection issues; and strengthening local organizations by expanding participation among youth and vulnerable populations.
Last updated: May 20, 2014