GORPA (SALYAN), Sept 25: Santa Singh of Gorpa VDC-6 left for greener pastures in the Gulf six years ago as his earnings from conventional agriculture could barely keep the wolf from the door. But the handsome earnings from modern vegetable farming started by his wife Durga Devi during his absence have lured him back home.
“One year after my husband left for Saudi Arab for employment, I received training in modern ways of farming and began growing vegetables, and through this I was able to recall my husband back home,” she said.
She said that she began mulling over alternative ways of earning a livelihood as the great chunk of her husband´s foreign earnings had to be paid as interest on the loan they took for sending him abroad.
“Life in the absence of my husband was really hard,” Durga Devi, a mother of two, said in retrospect. “The children were always waiting for the day of their father´s return”. Durga Devi, who started cultivating tomato and cabbages among other vegetable items on her six ropani of land near the house, said that after the produce began paying back handsomely she recalled her husband back home from abroad for good.
“I told him about the amount of earnings from the vegetables and he immediately returned home,” she added.
After the husband´s return, they leased four more ropani and expanded their vegetable farming to 10 ropani. “Last year total earnings from the vegetables were over Rs 200,000. This year also we expect a good harvest”, Durga added.
Santa Singh is also happy to have returned home to take up the vegetable farming started by his wife. “I was forced to leave the country for better opportunities for I could not meet the expenses of my parents and three sisters with the produce of our land,” he said. “However, vegetable cultivation in the same land is fulfilling our necessities now”, he added.
He also said that saving money from his menial job in Saudi Arab was really hard. After learning the stark realities of employment abroad, he wanted to return home immediately but was at a loss what he would do after returning. “Meanwhile, she called on me to return and I obeyed happily,” he added.
Out of a total of 42 women who received training in agriculture under the program, Education for Income Generation (EIG), organised under the auspice of the American agency for international development, USAID, 10 women in the village were able to recall their husbands from abroad.
“After the women in the village began earning a good amount with vegetable farming, their husbands have begun retuning from abroad to assist in the farming,” said Dipika KC, an EIG mentor.
The vegetable farming has been increasingly popular in the VDC. Farmers in the village have formed a group, Srijansil Vegetable Producing Farmers Group, which sold vegetables worth Rs 3 million last year.