Small irrigation schemes brings back big hopes for smallholder farmers

Despite of having big opportunity to cultivate additional crops in winter, we had to leave most of our land fallow because of no irrigation facilities in this area.” said Ms. Geeta Tharu, when SAFBIN visited her field in Beluwa of Bardia distrct. This was not only her and her community’s story but there were more similar stories from the smallholder farmers from Surkhet and Nawalparasi districts. Other farmers like Ms. Tara from Surkhet and Mr. Tek Bahadur Thal from Nawalarasi had the same to say. They also had to keep their land fallow for more than 6 months in a year because of the same reason.

Based on the demand of the farmers to have better access to water for irrigation, SAFBIN team initiated a dialogue with the local government and farmers to have  collaborative irrigation schemes in the different project locations. The local government and the farmer’s communities were very excited with the idea. In less than five months of period, SAFBIN, in coordination and collaboration with the rural/ municipalities and local smallholder farmers, was able to restore and rebuild four irrigation canals from different districts. This has not only benefited the smallholder farmers affiliated with SAFBIN program but also has brought hopes for many other farmers in the locations. More than 380 farmers now have a plan to cultivate at least two additional crops in almost 150 hectare of land this winter which would have otherwise remained fallow. Mr. Bishnu Prasad Acharya, Ward Chairperson of Rajahar, Nawaplarasi, told that the municipality is very happy to work together with Caritas to bring back the smiles of the smallholder farmers.

SAFBIN will continue to work in coordination and collaboration with the local government, farmers and other local stakeholders to improve the livelihood and increase income of the smallholder farmers.