Rising income through seed production and services business

Rising income through seed production and services business

Mr. Bishnu Bahadur Shahi, 49 years old, is a permanent resident of Dullu Municipality-13, Khatigaunda, Dailekh. He is also a chairperson of Hatemalo Tarkari Beeu Prabardhan Sahakari Sanstha Ltd. There are 13 seed producer groups (SPG) producing seeds of vegetables and cereals within the leadership of cooperative. Mr. Shahi is merely doing agricultural business with his 9-member family in the rural Dailekh.

He has been working in the seed production activities since few years back. According to Bishnu, he did not have the sufficient skill and knowledge on seed production technology in the beginning days. After the interventions of Nepal Seed & Fertilizer Project through SEAN Seed Service Centre Ltd. (SEAN SEED), a seed company based in Kathmandu, he has been adopting modern practices of seed production technology and has been receiving necessary technical services and inputs. The SEAN SEED has also been providing various technical services, trainings, demonstrations, regular technical backstopping and marketing services to the seed producers of Dullu-13.    

Now the seed production scenario of Khatigaunda has been changed. The SPG under Hatemalo are producing seeds of diversified crops like onion, cauliflower, tomato and maize including others. Mr. Shahi says, "Under the NSAF project activities, we are getting support for hybrid tomato and maize seed production. There are two onion seed production demos at our place where our member farmers can observe clear differences of local and best management practices of seed production." In addition to this, NSAF through SEAN SEED has invited him in international and national level training programs. Recently he has actively participated the international training on hybrid vegetable seed production which was held at Dang.

"I am producing seeds in about a hectare of land. We have started seed production of Khumal Hybrid Maize 2 from last year and from this year we are also producing seeds of hybrid tomato variety Srijana in 0.04 ha", said Bishnu and added that the cooperative is producing seeds in more than 25 ha of cropland. Seed production program is tightly linked with market. The SEAN SEED and Hatemalo has made pre-sowing seed production and marketing contract and develop common understandings for the seed business.

Bishnu has experienced a lot of things in the seed business since the Hatemalo came contact with the company. "SEAN SEED and NSAF project has created good forum for us. We have learned how to produce seeds, what is value addition, where to sell and how, how to develop linkages with market, even calculation of gross margin," Bishnu explained. "Once we have a buy back guarantee, we are now focusing on quality and quantity production of onion, tomato, cauliflower and maize seeds. We are targeting 20 ton of vegetable and maize seed per season." Hatemalo has been producing seeds of okra, chilies, tomatoes, French beans, cowpea, cress, bittergourd, radish, etc. He said, "We have made a five year seed production and sales agreement with the company. By the end of fifth year (2079 BS), our production target is 43 ton (Khumal Hybrid Maize-2: 15 ton, Sirjana hybrid : 8 kg and onion: 1.3 ton).

Bishnu Shahi has also started Omshanti Agrovet aiming to provide agricultural inputs to the cooperative members, ~500. According to him, he has been able to sale 15-20 lakhs of seeds annually and his cooperatives recorded average 70 lakhs of annual sale. His agrovet has annual transaction of around 65 lakhs. "Individually, I am planning to sale 50 lakhs of seeds annually. For this I have developed 4 tunnels by spending 20 lakhs", Bishnu said.

In one of the questions, Bishnu compared life now and then. "We have a difficult time in the beginning, life was not so easy. There was a big challenge to run family of 9. I had to left home for India for the livelihood," Bishnu recalled the past and added, "Now the situation has been changed. Our family is counted as a laborious, trustful and good service provider/business person in the district". In his opinion, being a service provider and motivator is prestigious and fruitful job. He found good impact of his occupation in his socio-economic status among. "Agri-business is the most valuable and service oriented in our context. I feel proud to bet part of NSAF project and collaborator of SEAN SEED and this triggers well-being of our society," Bishnu seems happy in his current portfolio. Now, he is planning to expand seed production and marketing business i.e. almost double in area, volume and sales. Lastly, he is happy from the Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project and SEAN SEED for providing him such knowledge and support in seed production technology and marketing activities.