Money

Commercial farming gains pace in West

- PRAKASH BARAL, PURNA BK, MADHAV ARYAL, BAGLUNG/ TANAHUN /PALPA
The cooperative sells milk at the district headquarters in Kusma produced by 150 cows in the farm. As many as 20 youths are employed in the business

Aug 30, 2015-With commercial farming gaining pace, Animal Resource Development Farm and Milk Producer Cooperative of Baglung, based in Bhimpokhara, has begun operating a cow farm with an investment of Rs50 million.

The cooperative sells milk at the district headquarters in Kusma produced by 150 cows in the farm. As many as 20 youths are employed in the business.

About 150 cooperative shareholders also run their own cow farms at home for self employment. Several farmers from Paiyuthanthap, Damek, Rayadanda and Bhakunde have also started commercial farming at Baglung Municipality 5 on rented land.

Gahate settlement in the municipality has been renamed ‘New Agriculture Cooperative Village.’ As many as 92 youths have started commercial farming of vegetables and livestock through their Mirmire Agriculture Cooperative. The local cooperatives have helped people willing to invest in commercial farming by offering easy access to finance. The cooperatives have invested from Rs500,000 to Rs1.8 million on business of a single person. “People are getting credit against the guarantee given by  shareholders which has helped even the poor without adequate collateral to acquire loan,” said Lal Bahadur K.C of Baglung Municipality-8.

Agriculture cooperatives here sell 3,500 litres of milk at the district headquarters everyday. Milk Cooperative Association President Yukta Prasad Kadel said that they have taken initiative to increase production. Cooperatives have acted as a helping hand to the people involved in commercial farming in areas including Amalachaur, Dagatumdanda, Bihun, Bhim Pokhara and Sigana of the district.

Two daily newspapers, one weekly and three FM stations have been operated under the ownership of the cooperatives. A total of 25 media persons and 50 staffers are employed in these media outlets. The cooperatives have also contributed in gender equality with 70 percent staffers being women, according to Bishnu Prasad Sharma, chief of division cooperative office here. There are around 400 active cooperatives in Baglung.

A total 600 people are employed directly in cooperatives and an additional 1,500 have been employed in agriculture and livestock farming, according to the Division Cooperative Office.  

 There are 408 cooperatives in Gorkha followed by 361 in Tanahun and 296 in Lamjung, according to Division Cooperative Office, Damauli, which monitors cooperatives in these districts along with Manang. A total of nine cooperatives are operated in Manang district.

However, a few cooperatives have also been scrapped due to anomalies. According to Cooperative Inspector Puspa Khanal at Division Cooperative Office, seven cooperatives from Gorkha were scrapped last fiscal year. Of them, two multipurpose and two saving and credit cooperatives, one agriculture and another one dealing with milk were scrapped. Farmer Awareness Saving and Credit Cooperative in Lamjung alone has an annual transaction of Rs500 million. There are 14 cooperatives in Tanahun doing annual transactions between Rs50-500 million. There are eight big cooperatives in Lamjung and three in Gorkha. “There is a trend of opening cooperatives with the lure of recieving grant from the government,” said Khanal.

But, government investment of Rs6.6 million in operating fair price shops has been wasted by cooperatives in Palpa. A total of 25 multi-purpose, 33 saving and credit cooperatives, and three milk producers and five ginger producer cooperatives had received grants of Rs100,000 each to run fair price shops a few years ago as per the government’s policy.

Published: 30-08-2015 09:05

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