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Pandemic helps women of Itahari to emerge as collective flower entrepreneurs

Birat Anupam, SUNSARI:- Nepal imposed 120-day-long nationwide lockdown since March 24. All activities were stopped owing to the pandemic-centric lockdown. However, for the women of Itahari-3, it was an opportunity to collaborate for the first ever experience of women collective for agricultural entrepreneurship.
Twenty-one women led by Pabitra Koirala leased 10 Kattha of land for farming for a decade. The women group named ‘Srijanshil Krisi Uddyami Mahila Samuha’ which loosely translates as ‘Creative Agriculture Entrepreneur Women Collective’ collected Rs 500 each to register the group. The group discussed ways to start collective farming. Finally, as Nepal’s festival season was approaching, they decided to grow marigold flower.
They collected marigold saplings from a commercial nursery of Itahari-20, Tarahara and planted saplings some four months ago.
”We did a lot of preparation to make our leased land fertile at the beginning as it was barren,” informed chair Koirala. She added, ”Finally, we planted saplings in August end. Now, it is time to harvest.”
Koirala said Deputy Mayor Self-Reliant Programme also supported Rs 200 thousand at the beginning which came as a big help to the women group. ”Our enthusiasm and governmental support from local government made it easier,” said Koirala.
Renuka Acharya, a member of the group, said she is excited with the bloomed flowers. ”Our investment will be recovered as there is not much India-imported marigold flowers for this Tihar festival,” said Acharya, adding, ”Market is also good. We can sell a readymade marigold garland with 34 units of flowers for around Rs 200.”
Marigold flower is widely used in Nepal’s second largest festival of Tihar. People use it to decorate homes and to celebrate ‘Bhai Tika’ ritual where brothers and sisters put marigold garland to each other. Women of newly established Creative Agriculture Entrepreneur Women Collective are waiting Tihar for their sale. In this year, Tihar’s festivities officially start from November 13 to 16.
”There is demand from the locality and even from market of Itahari. We will sell there where we can fetch comparatively better price,” said Koirala, exuding confidence. RSS

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