‘My father has worked as a farmer all his life and he left Nepal in early 2000s to work as a farmer in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel. I often asked myself, why would a farmer leave his country to do the same work in someone else’s land but not his own?’ shares Paras Katuwal, founder of Nepal Thopa Sinchai (NTS). He adds, ‘My vision behind establishing NTS is to change the traditional system of farming and the goal is to be able to increase the capacity with fewer inputs using the modern technologies.’
Nepal has not been able to make a mark in the agriculture sector globally but in Nepal, almost 34% of the nation’s GDP comes from the agriculture sector. Almost 66% of the people are employed in agriculture and 80% of the population depends on agriculture. But the bitter reality behind it is that many agricultural products are imported in a huge number and the farmers are heavily dependent on weather which fluctuates frequently in a country like Nepal. The farmers in Nepal are still acquainted with the traditional style and only know the difficult way. They have never been introduced to the hassle free form of farming which can be fun, easy and very rewarding! NTS states that earning NRs. 15,000 a month can be easily achieved in XXX land only through farming which would also help farmers gain trust in what they are doing instead of opting for foreign employment which pays the same amount.
Paras shares, ‘Nepal Thopa Sinchai works with Drip irrigation, Solar Pumps and Green Houses. The new technology that we introduced is Drip Irrigation is an irrigation system that is cost effective and it saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes, tubing, and emitters. It involves dripping water onto the soil at very low rates (2-20 litres/hour) from a system of small diameter plastic pipes fitted with emitters or drippers. With drip irrigation, water applications are more frequent (usually every 1-3 days) than with other methods and provides a very favourable high moisture level in the soil which is good for plant growth and development.’
NTS started working on their own farm initially almost 5 years ago. Their farm would only give between 7-10 kilos while they were following the traditional form of agriculture while with the drip irrigation system, they were able to achieve 20 kilo which crossed records for Nepal. Paras adds, ‘After seeing the success in our own farm, we decided to do that on a commercial basis and make the technology available to all the farmers in Nepal. We started with 4 farmers in the first year who were acquainted to us with a yearly sale of 10,000m in the first year while now; we have been able to touch base with 15,000 farmers with a yearly sale of 10 lakh meters in accurately 60 districts. The growth from 10,000m to 10 lakh m was very challenging. We gave up on our comforts of being in Kathmandu and visited farmers introducing them to the new technology on motorbikes and foot. When they were sceptical, which was the case most of the times, we drove them all the way to our farm and gave them a tour to show them a plot which was being 100% utilized with 100% yield compared to their existing farms.’
Nepal Thopa Sinchai (NTS) is currently working on supply, installation, commissioning and testing of advanced Green House, Solar Pumps and Smart Irrigation tools and services to farmers and institutes working in technology based modern agriculture. It is a pioneering name in the field of complete irrigation package in Nepal through delivery of drip and sprinkler irrigation. Paras believes that farming is a noble profession that needs to be simplified. He aims at transforming the lives of the farmers and changing the country’s agriculture sector to a big industry that is environmentally friendly and enables sustainable agriculture.
First published in The Himalayan Times, 01.01.2017