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Getting the most nutritional value out of the farm

Farmers in Nepal are getting the most out of their farms, both in nutrition as well as in economic terms, by integrating a variety of crops on the farm.

Laxmi with her family. Photo: Author
Laxmi with her family. Photo: Author

Laxmi Acharya’s farm is often mistaken for a mini botanical garden. This is no surprise given the diversity of plants and animals on her farm.

With helping hands from her husband and children, Laxmi owns and runs a small family farm in Belepur, Koshi-Harincha municipality, Morang district of Nepal. Her farm is a total of 2000 square meters and well managed diversity is the key to its productivity. Six hundred square metres are occupied by the house, fruits and vegetables. She keeps a pair of cows, a pair of goats, 10 pairs of pigeons and 10 chickens. She also has a fish pond that contains about 100 Mungri (Catfish). The rest of her land, about 1400 square metres, is covered with scented Basmati rice fields under System of Rice Intensification method.

Laxmi gets the most nutritional value out of her rotations and the complementarities between her crops and animals. For example, during the rainy season she plants rice and after harvesting rice, she plants potato and mustard mixed with lentil and other vegetables. Mustard provides oil for the household while lentil and other vegetables provide food and extra income. In spring, she plants maize which is used for home consumption as well as for animal feed.

Table 1. Crops grown on the farm and source of nutrition
Vitamin A Vitamin B Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin E Vitamin K Iron
Mango, Guava Corn, bean, Okra Jackfruit, Mango Mushroom Guava, Mangos Mangos Spinach
Papaya Potato, Peas, Squash Guava Yogurt Papaya Pomegranate Peas
Amaranths Pumpkin, Asparagus Amaranths Milk Pomegranate Asparagus Broccoli
Broccoli, Squash Taro, Cabbage Broccoli Chicken Pumpkin Carrot Eggs
Carrot, Peas Mushroom Green pepper Taro Cauliflower Chicken
Pumpkin Pomegranate Yogurt Potatoes Cucumber Beans
Spanish Mango, Guava Eggs Okra, Peas Lentils
Milk Banana, Milk, Chicken Broccoli, Cabbage
Protein Beans, Pea, Cowpea, Fish, Meat
Calcium Milk, Eggs, Yogurt, Cabbage, Okra, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Garlic, Onion, Bean
Carbohydrate Rice, Maize, Banana, Potatoes, Taro

She raises a wide variety of fruit trees and vegetables. Mangoes, papayas, arecanuts, pomegranate and coconut, besides meeting household consumption needs also fetch additional income. The farm meets the vegetable needs of the family during all the seasons. Diverse vegetables are grown and consumed which provide all the necessary nutrition to the family (see Table 1). For example, brinjal, bitter-gourd, lady-finger, sponge-gourd and colacasia are grown in the rainy season, when other vegetables grow less. In winter season, cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, carrot, spinach, radish, onion, garlic, potato, several leafy vegetables, mushroom and pea are grown and in spring season cucumber, pumpkin, squash, brinjal, bitter-gourd, asparagus, amaranths and beans cover her farm.

Her cows, goats and poultry not only provide food and nutrition but also provide the manure that has improved the structure and fertility of her soil. The livestock are also a source of income.

In this way, the combined management of crops, livestock and poultry has provided both nutrition and extra income for her family. In total, the family is easily earning an income of more than NRs. 158,000, by sales of household production, after personal consumption. With small effort, she has greatly magnified the outcome. There are several such family farms in Nepal and Laxmi’s family farm is a typical example of a well managed family farm.

Raj Uprety and Rajendra Uprety

Raj Uprety
Student of Tribhuwan University
c/o Anjali Beautiparlor, Traffic Chowk Biratnagar, Morang, Nepal.
Email: ruprety001@gmail.com

Rajendra Uprety
Senior Agriculture Development Officer
District Agriculture Development Office
Biratnagar, Morang, Nepal.
Email: upretyr@yahoo.com