Mannu Devi Chaudhary got married at the young age of 16 to her neighbour Lautan Chaudhary. Immediately after the wedding she had to look after her new family and was primarily involved in agriculture on 4.0 ropanies of land.
After few years, Mannu Devi formed a farming group for women named Him Chhuli Mahila Krishak Samuha in her village in Janaki Gaunpalika-2, Kailai, Sudurpaschim Province. “After forming the group six years ago, I am actively involved in it and our members have grown from 5 to 25 within the period,” she shared.
However, time and again Mannu Devi and her fellow farmers were forced to bear loss due to pest attack on their crops like cucumber, chilly and tomato. Although they tried different locally available solutions, none of them were working. In August 2018 alone, Mannu Devi lost 88 kg of tomatoes due to pest infestation.
Fortunately, Mannu Devi came across Arjun Chaudhary, a field staff of NMS Agro Private Limited, an importer of agriculture inputs which includes crop protection units. It imports products such as organic neem-based pesticides, pheromone traps and lures, and garden tools from India. The company is based in Jhapa, in Province 1 and has its distribution network in 30 districts of Nepal.
Arjun recommended Mannu Devi to use pheromone trap as well as other products like neem dust and neem liquid from the NMS Agro’s basket to get rid of the problem. She followed his recommendation and even invited him to her group meeting. “He cleared various misconceptions regarding pest management and gave similar advice to my fellow farmers,” said Mannu Devi.
The meeting with NMS field staff proved to be a turning point for Mannu Devi as well as the farmers of the group she formed. The farmers are now in touch with the NMS field staff regularly for not only the pest related problems but also other agricultural dilemmas. “More field staff like the one from NMS Agro should visit us in order to help us to adopt better farming practices,” said Mannu Devi who continues to use pheromone trap to protect her crops—chilies and tomato—from pest attack.
Mannu Devi claimed that she has saved around 50kg of tomatoes and 30kg of chilies after using NMS Agro’s products and it has increased her income by Rs 5,000 compared to previous year’s earning from these crops alone. Also, the cost incurred while using crop protection products has gone down by Rs 500 during the period.
Sahaj signed a partnership agreement with NMS Agro on March 20, 2017 to ensure that marginal farmers like Mannu Devi and her friends—Asha Chaudhary, Sita Chaudhary, Shyam Lali Chaudhary, Deshni Chaudhary, Sonia Devi Chaudhary and Pratima Dangaura—get expert advice from the latter’s field staff to adopt better agricultural practices. Currently, NMS Agro is receiving marketing support and refinement in their business model along with financial as well as strategic support from Sahaj. Sahaj, with the support of private entrepreneurial partner such as NMS Agro, hopes to enhance knowledge of farmers regarding the judicious use of crop protection inputs and improve farmers’ access to quality crop protection inputs.
NMS Agro imports various agricultural products from Agriland Biotech Limited, an Indian firm providing biological solutions to plant protection and plant nutrition. During his visit to Sahaj’s office, Ramji Mangukia, director technical at Agriland Biotech said that pheromone traps can be used for two purposes—inspection of insects and mass trapping of insects. “Mass trapping is more like a community-based activity where fruit flies in the entire area are tapped providing permanent solution to pest attack,” said Mangukia. “The trap also helps to identify different kinds of pests rampant in the area.”