Some of the interventions under Sahaj’s partnership with private companies have not only increased the farmers' income but also made contributions to resolve the deep-rooted social stigma. Sahaj’s partnership with NMS Agro Private Limited, an importer of agriculture inputs which includes crop protection solution, is bringing similar changes in the far western region of Nepal.
Bhagrathi Deuba, resident of Gyanapdhura, Dadeldhura has a few mango trees in her backyard. But time and again the mangoes used to rot, preventing her from consuming or selling it. There was widespread belief in the village that if a menstruating woman touches the mango tree, the fruit will rot although the main reason behind the rotten mangoes was fruit fly infestation.
Deuba and other farmers of the region, instead of looking for the real reason, which was fruit fly, were concerned whether a menstruating woman had touched it. As a result, they failed to get the solution and were not benefitting from the fruit trees in their backyard.
Pravesh Saria, CEO of NMS Agro, during his visit to Deuba’s village in December 2018, came to know about the situation. Saria with a long background in the trading of crop protection units immediately knew the causebehind the rotten mangoes.
However, he found it difficult to convince the farmers about the real reasonbehind it.“I told them that the mangoes were rotting because of the infestation of the fruit fly and one can get rid of such insects easily by using crop protection inputslike pheromone traps(a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects). But the social stigma was so deep-rooted that nobody was willing to believe that the mangoes were rotting because of the fruit fly,” said Saria. “I offered a few traps to Deuba for free and told her to stop using it if she wasn’t happy with the result.” he said.
After the offer, Deuba reluctantly agreed to use the pheromone traps in March 2019. After placing the traps at the mango tree, the mangoes were perfectly fine. “The result was amazing and an eye-opener for me.” shared Deuba.
Using the trap not only changed the perception regarding menstruation but also helped Deuba to increase her income. “I earned around NPR6,000 by selling more than 50 kgs of mangoes,” she said. These days, Deuba touches the fruit trees without any hesitation even during her menstruation and tells others to give up the wrong belief and start using a pheromone trap to get rid of the problem of rotten mangoes.
Sahaj signed a partnership agreement with NMS Agro inDecember 2017 to ensure that marginal farmersget effective crop protection solutions and expert advice from the latter’s field staff to adopt better agricultural practices. During the partnership period, which lasted until September 2019, NMS Agro received strategic and financial assistance from Sahaj to refine their business model to reach out to a wider number of farmers with innovative products and services.