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Disease management inspire Santu to grow ginger

Ginger demo plot of Santu

In Ratemato, Makwanpur, thirty-five year old Mrs. Santu Dong lives with her seven family members. Although her husband works in a private school as a driver, she works on the family farm plot, trying to make ends meet. She used to grow ginger, but she lost so much of the crop due to fungal and bacterial diseases that she gave up last year in frustration, even though a healthy ginger crop can bring in a good price. Instead, she started to grow vegetables, millet, maize and wheat. They didn’t bring in the same amount of money that a good ginger crop would, but at least she knew the crops would survive.

At the beginning of this year, the private company Crop Pro-Tech approached her about disease management in ginger – how she and others in her community could grow healthier, disease-free ginger again. She was impressed with what they had to say and eager to learn. She participated in their disease management training course and volunteered a plot of her land to test out these new techniques. She bought 60 kilograms of ginger seed and planted nearly half a kattha of land (0.33 Ropani). She intercropped the ginger with maize and treated her compost with Trichoderma, the ginger seed with Bacteriomycin and drenched the ginger roots with Trichoderma after the bruni harvesting, as she’d learned during the course. The results were excellent.

Before the final harvest, she extracted 50 kilograms of bruni and sold them 150 rupees per kilogram, making a profit of 3,000 rupees over the 4,500 rupees she’d earlier invested. She is planning to invest this profit in her children’s education.

With this encouraging start, she expects to harvest more fresh ginger later in the season, further increasing her income and profits. With that money, she’s sure she can cover her household expenses and invest even further in her children’s education and their futures.

Inspired by the results, she not only intends to continue growing ginger again, but to expand the plot area next season. She is also enthusiastic to learn about Low Cost Storage (LCS) techniques for longer and more secure ginger seed storage and off-season sale, the next component of the Mercy Corps’ SAMARTH program.

This DFID-funded market-based program is helping poor rural farmers in Nepal, like Santu, learn about disease management in ginger so they can earn better profits and invest more soundly in their lives and the futures of their families.

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