Pro-agricultural programme fails to yield desired returnThe ministry has allocated Rs5 million this year to continue last year’s projects.
Last year, a Rs10 million budget was allocated to make Chaukhawang village in Musikot Municipality a ‘Cooperative Sample Village’, with a programme that was supposed to rope in each household to a cooperative organisation. The local unit said it aimed to increase the income of the farmers by promoting agriculture and industries. Chaukhawang village spreads across wards 9 and 10 of the municipality.
Recently, a team led by Bimala KC, who is the provincial Minister of Land Reform, Agriculture and Cooperatives, visited the village to assess the progress towards the stated goal. The team returned with the news that the programme hadn’t garnered results as expected. Currently, the village has three cooperatives that have been working towards fulfilling the goal. But minister KC said that a majority of efforts have not been effective. The municipality had aimed to promote animal husbandry and establish an industry that would refine vegetable spices.
One cooperative called Kami Budha Memorial Agricultural Cooperative has started a buffalo farm in the village with 20 female buffaloes and a male buffalo. But this is far from what the cooperative had aimed for, said Shashiram Budhamagar, chairperson of the cooperative. “The buffalos imported from the Tarai haven’t been productive,” Budhamagar said, “and it is difficult to take the produced milk to the market.” The cooperative is struggling to generate revenue and is currently running with a loss of about Rs50,000 per month, he added.
Meanwhile, the Chhabi Multipurpose Cooperative in the same village is running a goat farm. A year ago, 100 goats were purchased, but 30 goats have died due to diseases and cold. “We tried to tend them well but unfortunately, we couldn’t do much,” said Jokhimaya Kathayat, chair of the cooperative.
Another cooperative in the village, Sirjansil Women’s Cooperative, was tasked with establishing a spice industry with the grant money.
The building has been constructed but the industry is yet to take off, with the equipment yet to be installed for a lack of skilled manpower. The industry is supposed to refine large cardamom (alainchi), Sichuan pepper (timur) and turmeric powder (besar).
The ministry has allocated Rs5 million this year to continue last year’s projects. Gopeshwore KC, the chairperson of the cooperative sample village operation committee, said that the projects have failed to yield the desired return because of a lack of teamwork. “We thought the communal programme would be beneficial for our society, but many projects are yet to be implemented,” KC said. “But we hope we will see good result this year.”