About us
Pradeep Bhattarai, Nepali Village Farm, Shukranagar, Nepal

Pradeep Bhattarai is a 24 year old farmer who lives on a family farm along with his father Balaram, mother Durga, sisters Pramila and Protishya and grandmother. The Bhattarai family‘s farm,  also known as Nepali Village Farm is situated in Shukranagar, near Chitwan National Park in the terai region of Nepal.  Chitwan National Park is a big tourist attraction for visitors. Nepali Village Farm is  2.5 hectares and has been growing various seasonal crops like corn, rice, wheat, buckwheat, sesame, and many vegetables like potato, garlic, onion, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, beans etc. for subsistence. The surplus is sold as organic produce in the local market.

Journey through organic farming:
About 15 years ago, Dr. Pramod Parajuli, a Nepali academic living in the USA came to Shukranagar for a one day seminar about organic farming. Many farmers of the community participated in this program and agreed to stop using chemical inputs in their farms. The first year of organic farming was a very bad one. The productivity plummeted sharply and many farmers went back to chemical farming. However, the  Bhattarai family decided to stick with organic farming and keep on trying. Their persistence paid off,  their production increased year after year and today they are very happy with what they have achieved on their small organic farm.
As this is a family farm, everyone in the family helps with the farming activities including Pradeep’s grandmother.  Casual labour is also hired during harvesting time and for other odd jobs at the rate of Rs. 400 per day.

The biggest challenge that Pradeep’s farm has been facing is attack by the pests from other farms nearby, where poisons and pesticides are being used. The pests seem to migrate to Pradeep’s farm when chemicals are sprayed on neighbouring farms. This affects the crops on his farm.
It is difficult to distinguish between the organic and non-organic products in the local market. The low levels of literacy in this rural area and the poverty of the people also hinder them from getting a better price for their products. Deeply rooted habit of using fertilizers, poisons, pesticides amongst neighbouring farmers can hardly be changed. However, the challenges can be met by the sharing of experiences with concerned farmers.

Animal husbandry:
The farm has two buffaloes, and two goats which provide the family with milk and with dung which is converted into compost. Both vermicompost and ordinary compost are produced on the farm.  The family sells its organic compost in large quantities to the local community and earns about Rs. 5000 per year from this sale.

The family keeps about 1000 hens of a local breed. The hens provide them with eggs which are sold locally and also sent to Kathmandu. The chickens are also sold as table birds for Rs. 200-300.
Irrigation of Pradeep’s farm is sponsored by Chitwan National Park.

Bee keeping:
Pradeep’s family keeps 20-30 beehives and they obtain around 1000 kg. of honey from these beehives each year. The honey is sold at the rate of Rs. 200 per kg.
 Nepali Village Farm has become famous for its honey throughout the district and also in the major cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara. Bee-keeping is an important part of farm activity and the rich flora of the Chitwan area produces excellent honey.  However, Pradeep’s family has not been able to increase the number of hives due to the rise and fall of the market and lack of specialized training in beekeeping.

Spreading organic consciousness:
Nepali Village Farm has attempted to make the public more aware of the health and environmental benefits of organic farming. 45 year old Balaram Bhattarai, the father of the family has trained farmers for one month in Nepal through a NGO. He has always welcomed creative suggestions from anyone, from any corner of the world, and he wants to work hand in hand with all interested people and organizations. The organic farm sector in Nepal, especially in the terai area is still at a small scale. Pradeep’s farm has neither been supported by the government nor by any other organization till now.

Volunteer program:
Seven  years ago Mr Regmi, the coordinator of WWOOF Nepal came to Shukranagar to visit the organic farm and thanks to him, volunteers started coming to the Bhattarai farm. Nearly 600 volunteers from 35 countries of the world have come to Pradeep’s farm in  previous years. The family has learnt to speak in English in order to communicate with their  guests. Volunteers are accommodated in a separately built cottage. Food and housing are free, in exchange for a few hours of work each day and a small donation. The food is simple vegetarian Nepali food, with eggs and meat  thrown in occasionally. Organic honey from the family’s beehives is of course served with breakfast and tea.
The volunteers can get a taste of the rich bio-diversity of the Nepali terai,  enjoy the  scenic beauty of the rural landscape and live amidst the multi-religious, lingual and cultural community. Participation in local festivals and events is eagerly awaited. Visitors and volunteers go for elephant rides and boating inside Chitwan National Park.  Volunteers learn how to cook on an open hearth, how to handle bees, milk buffaloes, harvest rice and much more. They experience first hand, the daily routine of a Nepali farm family.  They return home with wonderful memories of their stay at the Bhattarai farm.
Here is a touching testimonial from a French couple:

First of all, of course we would like to say a great thank you for all your kindness and the wonderful way you accommodate us.
We also would like to say congratulations for everything you have achieved here: your wonderful family, this very cute house where we slept and the organic crops you have planted. It is very important for us to see that at the very other side of our planet people trust in the same things than us: that agriculture and food are very simple issues which we must not abandon to huge companies. Also that health comes from natural goods that grow naturally. Thanks to people like you it is possible to live simply and naturally, even in the middle of a chemical world.
I hope that one day all Nepal will be organic.
And finally we would like to say sorry for staying only a few days. Next year we promise to come again and stay much longer. We would love to discover more about your culture, your beliefs and language.
We have learned so much in 3 days here, about what is important and what is not.
Knut and Anais, France.

E-mail: pradeep_s88@yahoo.com
Web: www.nepalifarm.com