Twenty-one-year-old Ms Sujana Khatri is an aspiring young farmer in the domain of aquaculture, a lively example in Barahachhetra, Sunsari. Ms Khatri is engaged in pond culture adapting carp polyculture in the fish production business and is well recognized in the area where she lives.
Khatri got married and left her parents’ home at an early age and during the initial period of marriage, her husband had to leave overseas for foreign employment to help support the family. After Some years of hardship, her husband returned to Nepal thinking to generate fisheries business. Three years back she and her husband started pond-based carp polyculture farming, in a pre-owned land area of 0.33 hectares (10kattha) fair enough to yield 10-12 quintals. The couple pushed ahead with the fisheries business and also started a small shop nearby for extra financial support in the family. The yield during the initial period was barely 5 quintals, and the market was always a crucial problem for the fish farmers in the area.
Ms Khatri along with other farmers in the area who were small farmers and involved in fisheries farming got linked with the Sukrabarey Fish Farmers Group in Madhuban- Barahachhetra, fisheries producer farmers group generated by Samriddhi project in the year 2020. She says the project has enabled me and my group members for networking with fisheries business persons. Adding on she says─ “It’s been a great opportunity for an avid and young fish farmer like me to get associated with the producer group and learn abundantly on carp polyculture from the experienced farmers ”.
Herself including group members of Sukrabarey Group now are connected to the market since the project initiated program on forward market linkage with the live fish wholesale trader from same district. Farmers here are now secured with the market and additionally receiving better market value in the selling price Rs 20–40 extra per kilogram after the B2B linkage with trader. Farmers find it encouraging for all group members towards escalating production business, adapting collective marketing which is a novel practice within this fish producer farmers group.
The fish producer farmer group members are also getting training program on Financial Education and Enterprenuerial Knowledge(FEEK). This training program is especially targeted for project generated producer farmers group. During this training program farmers learn practical ideas on─ financial planning, savings, access to colletaral, bank and financial institutions services, insurances, financial record keepings, using calculators and such. After completion of 30 sessions of FEEK- teaching and learning classes in Sukrabarey Fish Farmers Group, Ms Khatri has been selected as as a FEEK facilitator who is helping other members learn Financial and Enterprenuerial skills. Nomination as FEEK facilitator has motivated Ms Khatri. She participated Training of Trainers(ToT) program designed for 8 days, which was provided by RERP in the year 2020. She now feels elated as well as obliged concerning to her responsibility within her producer group.
After participating in the training program, she could understand the necessity of financial literacy for farmers. She now finds how unaware farmers are of financial education. She realizes financial management skill as a vital in flourishing businesses. Ms Khatri is also involved in supporting farmers filling the Farmers’ Diary. This diary is provided by the project to record daily activities carried out on the farm. In the diary, farmers properly feed detail information of own business, everyday plan with budget. Farmers including Ms Khatri has received support example electrical pumping motor under the matching fund support program by the project. The technical support has been helpful for farmers to irrigate in her fish pond. As compared to initial period of business, yield is better per harvest and production margin has reached 12 quintals, which is a substantive increment in 9 months and return on investment is roughly between 50-60%.
Ms Khatri seems assertive about her business expansion in near future but like other farmers, she is also disappointed with covid-19 pandemic that has put unprecedented stress on agribusiness. She is a role model among young farmer and her learning and determined attitude towards the fish farming business has brought benefit to her family and society.