Saturday, 9 December, 2023

Rocky slope of the past is now a kiwi farm


By Tikaram Upreti, Ilam, June 25:  It was the time when there used to be only piles of stones and a few standing trees in the barren field of Tej Bahadur Gurung, a resident of Maimjuwa of Sandakpur Gaunpalika in Ilam.

An attempt to produce large cardamom in the damp field had failed after some years due to disease.

But this stony field has now turned into a green field after Gurung started farming kiwi (Chinese gooseberry). Gurung who has grown kiwi fruits in 10 ropanis of land has alreday started yielding a good return.

“It did not yield any profit from growing traditional crops. I then searched for new and profitable crops and found kiwi as potential fruit and started planting it,” said Gurung. “I am earning more than Rs. 700,000 every year from selling kiwis,” he added.

“These days I am busy in the farm from morning to evening. As it is a new type of crop, I have to do self-study in most aspects of farming. There are no technicians in the district to provide advice required for its farming,” he said.

“I used to take the help of YouTube for its farming in initial days, but now I have acquired minimum knowledge about it,” he said.

Gurung said that he had also taken some technical knowledge from Agriculture Knowledge Centre.

Initially, there was a cardamom garden in the area before the cardamom plants were destroyed totally by a disease, and Gurung has turned the same land into a kiwi farm, said Gurung showing his kiwi fruit field.

Gurung had started kiwi fruit farming from one plant in 2011 B.S. registering his company Chhintapu Agriculture Farm House. Now, his farm has been expanded to 10 ropanis of land and it has been a place for studying kiwi fruits for many other farmers.

Gurung, a retired Indian Army, had started searching for new crops to cultivate in his barren land after his retirement.

He shared that it took him two years to clear the stones of his field. He sowed kiwi plants after clearing the rocks.

Now this land has been a source of income not only to sustain his family but to make a good saving.

Inspired by Gurung, many other farmers in the village and surrounding areas have also started growing kiwi fruits. Now, Sandakpur Gaunpalika itself has made a plan to promote the farming of kiwi fruits in the entire Gaunpalika.

Chair of Sandakpur Gaunpalika Udaya Rai said that the Gaunpalika had been announced as a kiwi fruit zone. Farmers get Rs. 250 to 300 for a kilogram of kiwi fruits in their farm.

It is said that a plant yields around 40 kilogram of kiwi fruits. However, the farmers have complained about lack of proper market mechanism for their products.