Unearthing Possibilities

© Akash Shrestha / WWF Nepal

Kalapani, a small village with 30 households in Dang district in mid-western Nepal, once shared a typical challenge as numerous villages in Nepal do – water stress. With the village reeling under serious water problems, farming was an activity people had literally abandoned. All the households used to buy vegetables for consumption simply because they could not grow any in those circumstances.

In 2013, WWF Nepal introduced its water-based adaptation program in the village starting with spring source conservation. Key interventions included a reforestation drive at the spring source, construction of a massive reservoir and channeling of water from the spring source into the reservoir. The collected water was then tapped to feed into households and irrigation canals, a source that worked even during the dry spells.

As an added measure, a farmers’ school has been initiated in the village whereby the local people are provided with practical lessons on vegetable farming, integrated pest management and harvesting techniques, now that the water problems of the villagers have been addressed.

© Akash Shrestha / WWF Nepal

Bel Mati Chaudhary, 26, is one of the members of the farmers’ school. She is part of the Kalapani Women’s Farmer’s Group which has 31 members in total. Together with her peers, she works on a leased plot of land where the practical lessons are held. In the land, they have been able to cultivate numerous seasonal and off-season vegetables. She takes back the learnings from the classes and applies them in her own small plot of land.

If earlier vegetables formed a major part of the household expense for Bel Mati, today she feels proud to be able to grow vegetables in her own home. She is now also able to sell the vegetables in the local market which fetches her a monthly income of NRs. 8,000 (about USD 80).

With water forming an integral part of rural people such as Bel Mati who rely on agriculture for their daily sustenance, interventions such as this are indeed a life-saver.