Baitadi farmers turn to pickle production

Locals of Shreekot VDC of Baitadi have found a new source of income generation in pickles. As many as 18 farmers, most of them women, have been making pickles by using local farm products and supplying them in the nearby market.

Micro Enterprises Development Program (MEDEP) -- a joint poverty alleviation initiative of the government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) though the financial support of AusAID - has been supporting local farmers by providing them necessary trainings and inputs for pickle production.

"The MEDEP encouraged us to be organized and provided us skills and entrepreneurship trainings. It also extended technical support to support which boosted our confidence to start pickle production by using local farm products," Dev Bahadur Chand, member of Jagadamba Pickle Producers Group, said. Along with Jagadamba, local farmers have formed two other groups -- Shrijanshil Pickle Producer and Bhumiraj Pickle Micro Enterprises Groups - in Shreekot VDC.

They jointly operate a production unit based in Shreekot VDC and exchange their skills and experience. Products of these groups are supplied to Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi and other markets in the far western region. "Our products are easily finding market. We are also getting lucrative price," Chand said.

Encouraged by the growing demands for their products, the farmers have initiated the process to acquire food production license from the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) to institutionalize pickle production in the village.

Rekha Chand, treasurer of the Jagadamba Pickle Producers Group, said the group produces around 20 quintals of pickles annually.

Local farmers use mango, ginger, garlic and lime as raw materials for pickles. Their products fetch at least Rs 160 per kg.

"Though we are producing at low scale at preset, we are encouraged by the prices offered by the buyers. We are interested to expand our production capacity if the government supports with additional capital as well as modern machineries for packing and processing of pickles," added Chand.