Naram locals go for ‘green economy’
By Purushottam Khatri
Nawalparasi, Dec. 11: It may sound strange but the term ‘green economy’ has become a catchword among the locals of Laape and Pokhari of Naram VDC-7.
They have been engaged in growing Amrisho (thysanolaena maxima). The grass, used to make broom, is an alternative to traditional agriculture.
“We have boosted green economy by growing Amrisho, also called broom grass, as it suits our geography,” they said.
Around 46 households have been involved in Amrisho farming with the support of Hariyo Ban Programme (HBP), which teaches farmers about its production to help sustain their livelihoods. Presently, it covers around 15 bigahas of sloppy land.
HBP is a USAID-funded project under the National Trust for Nature Conservation.
“It is easy to grow Amrisho grass and earn money,” said Cholmaya Gurung, 34, of Laape village.
She said that the once the grass was grown, stems from a single plant could harvested for at least seven years. “Amrisho farming is a fast growing green enterprise here.”
Locals at Laape and Pokhari villages said that they had slowly stopped planting millet and maize crops as wild animals destroyed them.
“While starting Amrisho farming, we first destroyed Mikania and cleared other bushes to grow its seeds,” said Cholmaya.
Haimaya Gurung, 32, said that that they Chelpati Mothers’ Group had been formed for planting the broom-grass.
In their initial years, they grew Amrisho in one bigha of land and produced over 1,000 brooms and sold them for Rs. 50-60 per piece.
Apart from this, men prepare nanglo (a bamboo basket) and flog them at Hattikhor and Kawasoti markets.
According to them, they have not faced market problem to sell broomsticks and others items, said Haimaya.
“From one bigha, locals generally produce 1,000 brooms and share the income among themselves as decided at the meeting of the Mothers’ Group,” said Haimaya.
She said that broomsticks, bamboo products, honey enterprises and home stay services formed the basis of a green-economy of the villages.
“The only problem is that we can’t plant rice due to geographical constraints and thus, we are compelled to buy rice from the market by selling these locally produced goods,” said Haimaya.
Apart from engaging in Amrisho farming, the locals have joined hands to conserve Ghoral, an endangered animal in their locality.
The locals of Laape and Pokhari have been conducting a series of initiatives, which are not only confined by their needs to make some earning to their earning but also driven by their desire to help promote tourism and protect forests and environment.