Parsaram Dangi, a 55 year old farmer from the Banke District in Nepal, was having a hard time making a living off of his rice paddy farm.
Although his children are grown and his wife helps him on the farm, he was still struggling to pay his household expenses. Parsaram and his family had been involved with their local READ Center’s educational programs – from health trainings to a workshop on pig farming.
Then, Parsaram learned about a new program at his READ Center that organizes training groups to teach modern agricultural techniques to farmers.
Through the program, launched in partnership with Practical Action and READ Nepal, Parsaram learned about the profitability of tomato farming - something no one else was doing in his area. He learned how to prepare the land, select seeds, and how to make homemade pesticides to prevent disease. Using these new techniques, Parsaram became the first tomato farmer in his village. He decided to take out a loan of NRs 7,000 ($128) from a local savings group to grow his new and improved business.
In no time, he began making a profit of $23 each week off his sales - greatly helping him support his family.
Even when other farms in his district were damaged by disease, and many other farmers lost hope, Dangi’s tomatoes survived because of techniques he learned through the READ Center. He said, “I could save my tomatoes from disease due to the knowledge that I gained through the interaction training and books provided by the library….I didn’t think it would be that easy. I only wish I’d known sooner.” Today, his tomato business is thriving.