Name: Shanta Maya Khadaka
Lives in: Sadidada, Hilldevi, Nepal
Occupation: Leader of Farmer’s Group
Before Tevel came to the Sadidada station where Shanta Maya lives, she was only growing basic staple crops such as maize, potatoes and millet to support her family of 5. Unable to support their family, her husband, like so many other Nepalis, was forced to go abroad to work.
Today Shanta Maya is growing a variety of vegetables and she plans to build a plastic greenhouse to grow more off-season crops. Her husband, with whom she is in touch by phone, encouraged her to invest in farming, especially in cash crops. Now she’s doing so well that her husband now wants to return to Nepal to help her with her farming.
“The thing that made the biggest difference for me was learning how to make liquid manure and compost, liquid bio-pesticides as well as new techniques (like SRI) for growing rice. I used to use a chemical pesticide but it was expensive. Now I can make it myself.”
Shanta Maya still has plans for the future. She wants to become a community leader and encourage other farmers to become organic commercial farmers. “I never imagined I could really make money from farming. Now not only do I have enough vegetables for my family to eat twice a day, I can pay the tuition to send my kids to a good boarding school. I think soon I will be able to earn more farming than my husband did working abroad in Malaysia.”