AGRICULTURAL PROJECT: Agricosh and SATSH

The economic significance of local agriculture is great. It is therefore logical to look for ways to improve the yield, so that the economic situation grows (and therefore also the possibility that more families can pay the school contribution themselves).

Agriculture is almost the only source of income for the population and the choice of crops and cultivation methods is passed on from generation to generation. This leads to a limited variety of crops with a low production. One-sided nutrition and meager harvests are the result. It is therefore not surprising that in the discussions in Sailung modernizing agriculture emerged as a great wish. We would like to help fulfill this wish because we are convinced that sustainable agriculture forms the basis for a sustainable society and will eventually make our involvement superfluous. And that is ultimately the ultimate goal!

For this project, in consultation with Sailung, we sought cooperation with the Dutch foundation www.ICFON.nl. They have, just like us, the goal to raise the well-being of the population in Nepal to a higher level. Their vision is that something like this should start with a strong socio-economic impulse. And that that impulse must come from a local specialized agency. ICFON has therefore invested a lot of time in the professionalization of the Nepalese institution, www.isard.org.np . ISARD specializes in the socio-economic development of rural communities through agricultural modernization. They do this by providing multi-year guidance and helping local farmers step by step in:
• Forming self-managed cooperative groups of microcredit funds;
• Improving current cultivation methods;
• Stimulating good soil use through composting, fertilization;
• Increasing the area of crops grown;
• Using tools (from greenhouses to forms of mechanization)
The results of ISARD are spectacular, both the improvement in the harvest and the great support among local farming families. We therefore believe in the power of their approach and have asked them as a partner to develop a plan for us, in consultation with representatives from Shailung. A first step has now been taken and this offers the opportunity for approximately 120 families to receive intensive guidance in the coming years on their way to a new level of agricultural holdings. She will investigate possible extensions later in the project. Anyone who wants to work on it seriously is welcome in this project. Special attention is paid to ensuring that women can also participate in this project and... who knows what questions will arise from this. What is special is that the Nepalese approach is very similar to what we are trying to implement in the Netherlands with great difficulty: circular agriculture, or agriculture that is freed from external input of nitrogen through artificial fertilizer and heavy 'crop protection products' in order to support the immensely high production to keep getting it.

To promote inclusivity and support the most vulnerable households within the community, we will provide agricultural inputs such as seeds and plastic tunnels. Priority for material support will be given to female-headed households, households with family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities, and single parent families. Particularly focused on the emancipation development of women in general, but also in connection with sales channels and government. The first steps have now been taken; it has been assessed whether the community is in favor of this approach and... that support is there. Not entirely surprising either; After all, the suggestion to do something with agriculture came from the community itself this spring.
Where in the Netherlands the transition to sustainable circular agriculture is accompanied by discussion, protests, anger, confusion and political wrangling, we see a transition on a local scale with the entire agricultural project that will result in a huge leap towards a sustainable agricultural system in barely 3 years.
Because the lead time has been provisionally estimated at 3 years. Roughly 2 phases are followed:
Year 1: AGRICOSh = AGRIcultural COMMunity Shailung is used to start up and divide the participants into five cooperatives, which work independently. ISARD installs its field workers who will supervise the entire project and a start is made with the introduction of new crops.
Years 2 and 3: SATSh = Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Shailung, focuses on the real change in cultivation, market development (sales of products), financing new investments, increasing experience and knowledge with sustainable agriculture (water collection basin, irrigation systems, composting, crop protection in a natural way, use mini greenhouses, etc.)
The entire project is monitored and evaluated periodically. Also worth mentioning: within this process, work is also being done on setting up a school garden and using the crops grown for meals at school!
In the meantime, partnerships are being set up such as:
In Germany with: Engineers Without Borders Karlsruhe Germany Water retrivement and micro-irrigation support ISARD at water reservoir and irrigation project part.
In the Netherlands with: Wageningen University on the Plastic Greenhouse design for Nepal project on the construction of special plastic greenhouses suitable for Nepal.
The chairman of the village development committee (VDC) calls this project an example for the entire region. And has promised to take political responsibility for scaling up if successful.
We are busy securing financing for the projects. We have also received (promised) support for this project from Wilde Ganzen, various Rotary clubs, churches Laren-Blaricum-Eemnes, Van Rumpt Foundation and various friends and supporters.

Your support is of course also very welcome.

ISARD preparations
determine the location of the school garden
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