Nepal earthquake: I have found a passion for agriculture

Som Bahadur Tamang stands in front of his tunnel farm supported by CARE

One year on from the earthquake that destroyed his house, Som Bahadur Tamang is surrounded by fully grown tomato plants producing juicy tomatoes. Som gently picks them and puts them into his bucket, carefully avoiding squeezing them too much. This is the first season where his fellow villagers can eat tomatoes freshly grown on their own farm.

Not so long ago, the farmers in his village, Dubachour, used to grow rice, potatoes and millet only. For other vegetables like tomatoes and chillies, they were dependent on markets outside their villages. Som says:

We used to walk hours to get to the market, but we were still not able to get fresh vegetables which were free from pesticides.

But after receiving farming training from CARE along with seeds, plastic and bamboos to reconstruct his farm, Som has successfully grown healthy tomatoes which has, in turn, helped him earn some money. He says:

After the earthquake, I lost all of my chickens which were my source of income. For a while, I was worried that I would not be able to send my children to school.

“But after receiving training on farming practices from CARE, I decided to grow tomatoes in order to sell them. I was sceptical about whether I would be able to at first but, within three months, I was able to earn Rs. 25,000 (approximately £163) just by selling my home-grown tomatoes,” he says.

Som Bahadur Tamang waters the tomatoes in his tunnel farm
Som Bahadur Tamang waters the tomatoes in his tunnel farm

Along with tomatoes, Som now wants to experiment with growing different vegetables. He has already started to plant chilli seeds provided by CARE and other vegetables like bell pepper. He is quite excited about the yields as some of these vegetables are new to his fellow villagers. Som says:

Most of the people in our village have never seen vegetables like bell peppers. I am sure they will like it once they grow on my farm.

Som has been an inspiration to many of his friends who have gone abroad to seek foreign employment. Many of them now want to follow in his footsteps.

“My friends from abroad call me sometimes and they tell me that they want to come back, stay with their families and make a living from agriculture,” says Som.

He adds, “I have found a passion for agriculture and I want to grow this initiative by leasing land from my neighbours and involve them in farming too. 

We can make this village a commercial farming hub as many people have started tunnel farming after the earthquake.

“However, we need support linking our agriculture produce to the markets as the supply will soon exceed demand in this village.”         

CARE's response

Since April 2015, CARE has assisted nearly 200,000 people from nearly 40,000 households. More than 138,000 people benefited from shelter assistance including tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses and solar lamps as well as training on how to rebuild homes. More than 128,000 people benefited from access to clean water. More than 100,000 people benefited from livelihoods support including cash-for-work, cash grants and/or support to start their own businesses and grow their own crops. We also trained birth attendants and provided women and adolescent girls with reproductive health kits; and provided psychosocial and legal support to survivors of gender-based violence.

More than one-quarter of CARE’s earthquake response in Nepal was funded by donations from the UK public and by grants from the UK Department for International Development. Thank you so much for your support. 

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.