Fulfilling the needs of children with the earnings from Tunnel Farming

A mother of 2, Januka Sapkota, is a farmer and a homemaker by profession. She and her husband are engaged in subsistence agriculture ever since they remember. This resident of Kushadevi, Kavrepalanchok owns a very little family land. But, Januka and her family completely relies on agriculture for their family income.

Januka is one of the recipients of agricultural tunnel for farming. ARD distributed tunnels to the financially struggling farmers in Kushadevi around a year ago. Sapkota not only received a tunnel but also had an orientation about the use of tunnel and farming in tunnel as agricultural assistance from ARD. After receiving this assistance, Januka and her family started planting tomatoes. Januka said, due to change in seasons, tomatoes are not available in the market throughout the year. However, by farming in tunnels, she has been able to grow fresh tomatoes even in the seasons when tomatoes are not in the market, thus she has been getting a good seeling price. Januka has recently planted cauliflowers and is expecting to get similar returns.

Januka used to think that she had not been able to earn enough from agriculture and boost her productions because of the small land area. These days Januka have realised its not land area that matters for production but it is about the agricultura technique. She says, “Who could have thought I would make a good income in such a tiny piece of infertile land. Tunnel farming has made it easy. I can get optimum production with minimum use of resources.” 

Januka’s income did not raise significantly from the day she started using plastic tunnels for farming; she went through some failures. Its her experiences that has taught her to use the tunnels more effectively. She utilizes the earnings for her family members, especially for her children. She shares that she is able to buy stationeries and food for her children from the income she earns from tunnel farming. She also added that her children do not need to struggle for pens and copies anymore and Sapkota has even made a little saving for each of her children.

Talking about the ease of the agriculture method and production level, Januka Sapkota adds, “In open land, the fruits of tomatoes ended after two nodes, but in tunnel farming, the fruits of tomatoes are equally good in throughout the plant. Nothing goes waste.”  She aslo shares that the sprinkle irrigation system adopted in Tunnel farming has made it easier because the agricultural production does not need much water resource. Januka is happy that Tunnel farming has intensified the level of production and the quality of fruits. 

Januka always wanted to try tunnel farming, she had been observing it in her neighbours land for a long time. After ARD provided a tunnel, Sapkota earned a good amount of money and she has recently added another agricultural tunnel too. She is also planning to take some land on lease and extend tunnel farming. She is very optimistic about tunnel farming and she suggests if there are more trainings and knowledge sharing sessions among the farmers.