Mr. Majhi Sahila

With few supplies and even fewer prospects, Majhi Sahila, 53 became desperate after his wife passed away and left him to support, single handedly, three young daughters and three sons, one of whom was an infant. Since her death, Majhi struggled hard to provide for his children and managed to maintain hope for a better life.

Majhi says his, and his children’s livelihood and future has been dependant upon orange cultivation and marketing. However, like many rural agrarians, Majhi found that the orange market was far from stable. The fluctuations in production and sales made his life, and the life of his family, very difficult. In the beginning, he had plenty of oranges but nobody to purchase the oranges. Majhi eventually found buyers, but he was unable to produce enough oranges to support his family. Majhi made many efforts to produce more oranges, but success was not guaranteed. For years, fruit dropping disease attacked the oranges trees and left him hopeless again and again. Like many people in his village, Majhi did not know about modern harvesting techniques. Despite his frustrations with the oranges, Majhi had no alternative; oranges provided his only source of income, however small it might have been.

One year, for example, there were more oranges on the trees and production was up. Everyone was so happy to see the trees abundant with nicely colored and delicious oranges. But the market was weak and everyone was obligated to sell their product at only 6 rupees per kg. Producers lacked the power and the voice to fix the price of their production. To compound the situation, the local market as well was limited. But many producers, Majhi included, have adjusted to this strenuous and difficult way of life. Majhi says, “Desperation has become a part of my life and it is something that I have learned to ignore and work beyond.”

This is when ANSAB-BDS/MAPS started to work with the community to increase the productivity of orange orchards and orange marketing. The project allowed Majhi to once more hope for the future. ANSAB’s project focused on promoting modern and successful harvesting techniques, decreasing and controlling diseases, and dissemination information on the orange markets. Five collection centers were set up as a service to the people. The District Orange Producers’ Association (DOPA) provided the pricing information in the collection centers and to the farmer groups. As a result, almost all producers stopped selling their oranges in the traditional lumpsum basis and began selling by weight. Majhi used the information and tools provided by ANSAB and did not sell his crops to the middlemen as he had previously done. Using ANSAB’s methods, Majhi earned 31, 600 rupees from his sale to the collection center where the previous year he earned only 7,000 rupees.

Mr. Fadi Narayan Aryal, Chairperson of the DOPA, is confident about the opportunities that selling oranges in organized and systematic manner can provide for the orange producers and the local community. He reports that his organization, as well as the farmers, is earning 50% more for its efforts than it had earned in previous years. Mr. Aryal was enthusiastic to share that this year, “We have sold oranges all across .” Like many producers, Mr.Yak Narayan Aryal, a trader from Syanja, had to stay for four to five days to sell his oranges at the Butwal market in previous years, but, because of the establishment of the wholesale market, he can sell all of his oranges in a single day.

The Chandi kalika farmer group, of which Majhi is a member, made a total of 483, 696 rupees on the sale of their oranges in 2005, compared to 190,500 rupees last year. Now, like many others, Majhi has new hopes and ambitions for the years to come.