New knowledge sparks new ways of thinking for rural development

KM and Communication Specialist, IFAD Vietnam

Sapkota and his father

It is early in the morning in Kavrepalanchok, Rayale in the hilly District of Kavre, Central Nepal, about 5 hours driving from Kathmandu.  Lekhnath Sapkota is busy preparing his daily work which would be full of activities.  Running a local dairy cooperative called Phulchoki which is named after a temple in his area, he is buying milk from local farmers which would be put in a chilling system for preservation. Milk will then be purchased by a commercial buyer going directly to his community to help transport milk truck bunk in to dairy factories for processing.

Sapkota calculates his income to participants of Learning Route
Started off with daily collection of only 30 litres, his firm is now able to buy up to 500 litres of milk on a daily basis.  With little land for cultivation, this provides regular work opportunities for around 80 households residing in the community, raising water buffalos or cows.

“I am very happy because as a farmer I can support other farmers with income generation activities that they can do on their own and based on their potential. On average, we buy 8 – 20 litres of milk from each household everyday”, said Sapkota with a smile.

In a small village like Kavrepalanchok, an extra of a few thousand rupees would go a long way. That would give local farmers some extra cash for buying school text books for children or re-investing cattle-raising.
Bhandari - standing and other participants of the Learning Route

“In the past, we sold milk individually to buyers and they decided the price. Now we can be in a much better position to negotiate the price and maximize the profit from selling in bulk quantity as a group”, continued Sapkota.    
Bhim Bhadur Timilasina is a local farmer of 50 years old, who has been supplying milk to Phulckoki for almost 15 years. He noted that his household is very content with the reliable source of income from selling milk.

Simple testing of fat in milk in the Dairy
“I receive money from selling milk twice per month of 15,000 to 17,000 rupees and payment is never late”, said Timilasina. “I am sure that I and other farmers will continue selling milk to Phulchoki in the future. Together, we will achieve more as a group”

Not satisfying with his current capacity, he is now looking for sources of loan from Government or international organizations so that he would be able to expand his firm. Dreaming of building his own dairy factory, he hopes to go into large packaging and commercial production of dairy products for local market, offering many more jobs to local farmers.

Story of Sapkota is deciding to set up a functional business and work together with other local farmers based on local potential
The Dairy collects milk from local farmers on a daily basis

have sparked a new way of thinking among participants of a Learning Route on “Women empowerment, new businesses and sustainable resources management” currently taking place in Nepal. Organized by PROCASUR and IFAD, it is intended as a knowledge management and capacity building tool to scale up best practices and innovations for the improvement of rural livelihoods.

Bashanti Bhandari is a social mobilizer working for the Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Programme (WUPAP) in Bajhang, North Western Nepal. Having seen Phulcocki’s dairy business with her own eyes, she said she was totally impressed and would consider replication of this model in her own work context.

Timilasina - right and other local  farmers bringing milk to the local farmers
“Part of my work is to support group formation in our project areas. I will certainly bring these lesson learned back and use them in future planning”, said Bhandari.  “Experiences like the Dairy gained from the Learning Route will be very important for us in fulfilling the activities of WUPAP in setting up new businesses, addressing poverty and providing sustainable income to poor farmers”.

Truck coming to collect milk