“Before Raleigh I used to grow potatoes, maize and millet on my farm. I had many sleepless nights over irrigation issues, but although I worried about irrigation, I still had success growing my potatoes. People used to get shocked at how large they were and would buy the potatoes. However, if there wasn’t enough water, it would be a different story and we would struggle to grow the potatoes.
When the volunteers arrived, they came to help build poly tunnels which would help us with farming. We all worked together to cut the bamboo for the poly tunnels, and soon after we brought tunnel building to the rest of the community.
I really wanted to learn about tomato farming, so I attended training run by Raleigh. Before this, I didn’t know anything about tomato farming, so it sparked off an idea in me which I’d never had before.
After my poly tunnel had been constructed, I bought 108 tomato seeds which cost around 1050 Nepalese rupees which I used to start my tomato farm. As I am the only one to do tomato farming in this community, it’s been really successful for me.
I have been able to grow 80kg of tomatoes at one time and sell them, first for 80 Nepalese rupees per kg, and then later at a rate of 70 Nepalese rupees per kg.
I sell my tomatoes from my own house. There are markets around here, but because people come to me I don’t need to go searching for markets which is much easier for me!
I have earned 3200 Nepalese rupees as profit, whereas my expenditure is 1050 Nepalese rupees. I don’t put any insecticides or chemical fertilizer on the crops, so my only expenditure is herbal pesticides and my time.
I have tomatoes worth 7000 Nepalese rupees in total. My profit would be 39000 Nepalese rupees from the poly tunnel. It’s been like a magic!
When the poly tunnel is in season, there are so many tomatoes. They are so red, they blink in the light because they are so big. People used to say “wow” when they saw the tomatoes and they would want to buy them. The heaviest tomato was 475 grams. The heaviest bunch was 1600 grams. When the customers come they are always satisfied with the tomatoes – some have said they look like tomatoes which could be used in 5 star hotels!
Not long after I built my first tunnel, I was visited by a Junior Technical Officer from the district agriculture office. He was really impressed with my tomato farm and said he would more support me with financial investment to build more poly tunnels, because he believes I am setting an example in the community. I am blessed, because if Raleigh had not supported me then I would not have been given this opportunity. I now try to encourage others in the community to start poly tunnel farming, because if I can make a profit from this, they can as well.
The money I make from my tomato farm helps me cover all our household expenses, and it has allowed me to save some money as well. This means I have money if there is an emergency. I would like to add more poly tunnels to my farm in the future. Thank you – volunteers from Raleigh Nepal have showed me and the community the way.”
Raleigh volunteers on the International Citizenship Programme work on livelihoods projects in Nepal and Tanzania, supporting entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses.