Women farmers strike gold with herb farmingA group of women in Beldandi Village of Shuklaphanta Municipality, Kanchanpur, are becoming financially with the success they struck in herb farming.
A group of women in Beldandi Village of Shuklaphanta Municipality, Kanchanpur, are becoming financially with the success they struck in herb farming.
This women farmers’ group comprising 40 members have planted peppermint, chamomile and curry leaves and within a matter of months earned more than Rs 750,000. They have set aside a part of their earning to support their enterprise and distributed the remainder sum among themselves.
“Earlier we were dependent on our spouses for pocket money and domestic expenses. But after growing herbs, we have been able to make money and run the household with our earnings,” sad Bhotani Chaudhari, one of the members who grows peppermint.
She added the group made Rs 156,166 through peppermint production alone.
With herb farming, these women are gaining financial independence. In case of some women, they have even become the breadwinners of their poor families. Rohina Okheda is one of them, and a proud one at that.
“Once our produce started to generate income, my husband and my in-laws also began to support me wholeheartedly,” she said.
Peppermint, chamomile and curry leaves are processed to make herbal oil, which has multiple uses, from a natural energy booster, a skin care lotion to a hair treatment oil.
“A litre of peppermint oil can fetch Rs 2,200. We are planning to expand our farm in the future,” Okheda said.
Sukuni Chaudhari, another group member, said farming herbs was less taxing and less labour intensive compared to food crops.
“Animals would damage other crops, but we don’t have that problem in case of herbs that we are producing. Moreover, herbs cultivation fetches more income. We are planning to plant herbs on every piece of land that we have,” she said.
Seven of the group members are involved in chamomile farming. They produced more than eight kilograms of chamomile flowers that fetched an income of Rs 463,123.
The group has also started growing chamomile seedlings in a nursery after learning that the plant was the real money spinner for their enterprise.
The land where cereal crops once grew has now been converted into a chamomile field.
Curry leaves, another staple the women farmers produce, earned them Rs 132,000.
“We barely had enough to eat for six months with cereal crops. But with herb farming, we can have enough money to support our families for a whole year as well as save some,” said Soni Chaudhari.
The group is being supported by the NGO, NEEDS, which has set up a herb processing plant with an investment of Rs 600,000. It has also constructed a facility to store and dry the herbs.
A revolving fund of Rs 100,000 has also been set up with support from the organisation for improving the socio-economic condition of women farmers.