$27,336 needed of $53,555
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
This program responds to widespread malnutrition and seasonal hunger among marginalized landless and land-poor residents in Bhatigachh. The program includes nutrition and sanitation education for the entire community. Farmers groups are being formed and participants are trained on vegetable farming and fish raising and are given access to leased land and fishponds. As a result, they are improving their diets and earning their own income rather than relying on labor migration and daily wage labor to survive. This is enabling marginalized communities to break out of the cycle of hunger and labor exploitation and improve their nutritional status and income by farming for themselves, rather than landlords.
Out of Debt After Two Years of Environmentally-Friendly Farming
Mukesh, a young farmer who was saddled with an inherited debt and heavy family responsibilities, has paid off all his financial obligations with profits from his successful farm. He was able to celebrate this amazing achievement after two years, thanks to ag training and support he received from the program.
Mukesh and his wife, Jeetni, live with his grandfather, a brother, and their small son. Mukesh was six months old when his mother died and his father abandoned him, leaving him to live with his grandfather along with an unpaid debt for the purchase of a tractor. The grandfather continued to pay off the loan while teaching Mukesh about farming, and was able to send him to school until the seventh grade. When his grandfather grew too old to farm entirely by himself, Mukesh quit school to help him.
At 19, Mukesh married Jeetni and assumed responsibility for the farm and loan in addition to his family obligations, but by then the interest was so large that he struggled to keep up.
Around that time, the Bhatigachh program started helping farmers in his village, training them on growing vegetables, making their own organic fertilizer, insecticide, and pesticide, and how to irrigate their crops. Mukesh was glad to learn sustainable ways to improve his farming, grow a wider variety of vegetables, and market them locally. He’s leased 1.25 acres of land, and grows everything from leafy vegetables and gourds to tomatoes, chilies, okra, radish, cauliflower and beans. His monthly profits quickly allowed him to pay down the old loan, and within two years he was out of debt.
He is happy and thankful for the program, which came just at the right time when he was overwhelmed with problems. Says Mukesh, “I am so grateful for your help.”
Caption: A smiling Mukesh harvests gourds destined for market
Nepal Bhatigachh program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee with Local Partner BICWS