Rudra Prasad Chaulagain, a 40 year-old man is skilled farmer, technician and an evolving entrepreneur. Few years back, before 2009, his identity was different – he was a kitchen helper at one of the capital’s hotel casinos.
Rudra grew up in a low income 7 membered family. Due to poverty, he was unable to complete his formal education and had to leave his family at the age of 18 to earn a better life. He worked in Royal Casino as a kitchen helper for 13 years, which later closed due to the national conflict and insurgency. He was out of job and was in a state of perplexity over what to do in that situation.
“For 13 years, I only worked in kitchen. I had no other work skills besides kitchen experience. The country was in a state of insurgency and my family was worrying what to do next.”
During the time, poultry farming was in trending all over the country and he too was lured to take poultry farming as his new career. He purchased an old house in Godavari, a former VDC (Village Development Committee) of Lalitpur district. With his small saving, he leased one ropani (1 ropani = 508.72 sq m) land and started poultry farming with 1000 broiler and 1000 layer chickens. However, the things did not go as per his expectation.
Rudra feeding chicken. Photo (c) RIRC/Archana Adhikari
“We were unfortunate. We lost most of the chickens to unknown diseases. We could not recognise the actual cause of death on time and even local agro-vet could not help us. We incurred great loss…”
Rudra and his wife realised that they lacked necessary knowledge and skills to effectively run the poultry business. They thought about switching to dairy business. They already had a good experience of keeping cow (they had kept one cow for household milk consumption), so they started a dairy farm by buying two additional cows. In the meantime, his wife got information about Practical Answers services being run through a community library from her neighbours. They visited community library- RIRC (READ Information and Resource Centre), Badikhel and shared their story seeking help. Rudra got an opportunity to participate in the expert interaction on “Animal Health and Livestock Management”. In his leadership, “Professional Farmers Group” was formed and registered at the local authority (Local government prioritises registered farmers’ groups while providing services, subsidies and grants). With the help of the CLRC, Rudra was also selected for a two month long “Community Livestock Assistant (CLA) Training”, organised by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) Nepal.
Rudra in cow shade. Photo (c) RIRC/Archana Adhikari
“I had passion to do whatever I needed to do but knowledge matters in all cases. If you do not have enough knowledge, you will never succeed. I had faced huge loss and economic crisis earlier. Thanks to RIRC Badikhel, without their help I would have never come to this stage. I am here only because of my dedication, family support and most importantly the continuous support and guidance of Practical Answers services run by the CLRC.”
After being trained as a CLA and getting knowledge on poultry farming, he again resumed poultry farming. Now, he has 800 layer and 2000 broiler chickens, all healthy. He has also added two more cows in his herd of three.
Rudra and his wife collecting eggs. Photo (c) RIRC/Archana Adhikari
Recently, after participating in three day training on “Dairy Product”, jointly organised by Practical Answers services of CLRC and VSO International on October 2016, Rudra has started a milk collection and chilling centre. In addition to 45 litres of milk produced in his own farm, he collects 200 litres milk on an average daily. He sells paneer, ghee and surplus milk from his chilling centre.
Rudra participating in “Dairy Product” training. Photo (c) RIRC/Archana Adhikari
“I feel very happy. Now I am making profit from my business. I am helping other small farmers as well. Now, they don’t need to worry about the market.”
Now, his children (one son and one daughter) are studying in one of the reputed English medium schools. He has also bought 10 anna (1 ropani equals to 16 anna) land by the side of his house and started kitchen gardening.
Rudra selling his farm produce to a costumer. Photo (c) RIRC/Archana Adhikari
“We are very much hopeful and optimistic about the future. My family especially my wife supports in making decision and managing all the business. We both participate in each and every activity of the CLRC alternately. We also share our knowledge and experience to other community members through the library. In fact, we are indebted by the library and its knowledge works.”
(Information and photographs collected by Archana Adhikari, RIRC Badikhel.)