Raising the seeds of empowerment with women led Agro-Forest Based Permanent Nursery

Raising the seeds of empowerment with women led Agro-Forest Based Permanent Nursery

  • October 19, 2023

Women entrepreneurs of Barhabise municipality ward no 8 recently constructed a permanent nursery with support from the project “Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions”, an IDRC funded action research project. The project handed over the nursery to the women entrepreneur group in presence of municipality representatives including deputy mayor, municipal member and chief of sub-division forest officer. The handover program was organized to empower the local government authorities along with the women entrepreneurs in collaborative roles for sustaining the lessons learned from the project for economically, socially and politically advancing rural women’s holistic development via increasing accountability of the concerned government authorities.

These women took the lead in constructing the nursery infrastructure, which includes a nursery tunnel (9 m x 11 m) with a capacity for 10 beds, a shed house, a storage house, and iron wire fencing. All the construction funds were mobilized by the entrepreneurial group through their group account. Furthermore, they took leadership in dealing with contractors and monitoring the construction process.

The newly constructed permanent nursery structure has the capacity to raise more than 50,000 seedlings annually. At present, they possess over 5,000 seedlings ranging in age from 1 to 10 months. These include Coffee (2,500), Lemon (2,000), Orange (80-100), Dhupi (400-500), Ipil Ipil (200), and Cardamom (500-700). Entrepreneur women have organized their schedules in a rotational manner throughout the year to operate the seedling production business. Now, they are in the process of initiating the legal registration to ensure the sustainability of the business.

The seedlings are locally consumed. Recently the ward office-8, Barhabise municipality purchased fodder seedlings equivalent to NPR 29,000 which were distributed to farmer households to promote the agroforestry system.  The project along with entrepreneur women has been facilitating the market opportunities at the regional and national level.

During the nursery handover ceremony, the deputy mayor ensured the allocation of the government regular programme and budget in the upcoming process to scale up the women-led agriculture-forest-based nursery. The women expressed their gratitude to the project as well as the local government, saying, “We have experienced many projects that come and go. We thought the same about this project. But we were wrong”. This project has truly brought about constructive change within us. Additionally, another entrepreneurial woman added, “Now we do not have to rely entirely on our husband’s income, which has subtly changed society’s perception of us”. The women are proud of being able to construct and develop the nursery project in a successful, permanent way. They not only owned the nursery in their names but also won the status of skilled nursery experts.