A Fruitful Endeavor: 20 Tons of Oranges Sold via Cooperative
Nearly 400 families in Burlingtar Rural Municipality, 5, Nawalparasi, have orange groves around their household. Considered sweet and tasty among other oranges and with at least 10 trees in each grove. Orange production is plentiful, but the farmers rarely make a good income as the link to market was missing, making it difficult for farmers to receive fair pay for their product. This picture is slowly changing thanks to the Jaubari Multipurpose Cooperative, which has made it their mission to link the local produce to the markets and ensure that farmers get a good amount for their product.
With the knowledge that oranges can be a good source of income for the farmers, members of the Cooperative are engaged in making the linkage to market easy. The Cooperative collaborated with local organizations to help farmers reach their full potential in orange production and have been promoting the use of organic fertilizers to the motivated farmers. This year the cooperative has provided loans of 250,000 Rupees, or $2,500 USD, to farmers interested in orange production.
With the efforts of the Cooperative members and farmers, the cooperative was able to sell 20 tons of oranges for 876,708 Rupees, or about $7,732 USD, in just one season. The farmers also received a good price and the cooperative also made a profit of $500 USD.
The jaubari market representative said, “In a joint effort of Heifer International Nepal and HICODEF (a local NGO), a subcommittee was formed to carry out market research and called numerous B2B meetings with the fruit vendors, farmers, and local stakeholders. After much deliberation, it was decided that the farmers would receive Rs.41/kg for the oranges and they sell in the market for Rs.40-70/kg, depending upon the grade of the oranges.
Mr. Khandlu, chairperson of the ward, was excited, as well as delighted, about the role the Cooperative played in the sale of the oranges. "The farmers spend so much time and effort growing food products and get disheartened when a fair price is not offered for them," he said. "With the Cooperative taking the lead, we can see that the farmers are happy receiving a good price in cash, and also promised that the government will help the farmers in such work and that hope that the Cooperative will always take the lead.”
The oranges that the Cooperative bought from the farmers have found markets in the local area, as well as Kawasoti and Narayangadh, 40 to 60kms, or about 25 to 37 miles, away from the village. Farmers who participate have made at least 10,000 Rupees, or $100 USD, and have felt a deeper bond to the Cooperative.
Dil Maya, a participating farmer, said “Almost all families have plenty of oranges in their gardens, we cannot consume it all, so we distribute some to the local people. The market is also far from the village so we cannot go by ourselves to sell the produce. So instead of letting it rot or to throw them away, we became obliged to sell it the local collector at a low price.”
Theory of Change (TOC)
Heifer Nepal’s work is guided by its Theory of Change with focus on five major domains of development (in figure below). The physical aspects when combined with social aspects produces multiplier effect, accelerating development process and scaling up impact.
Social capital - Social capital when combined with women empowerment provides a strong foundation for empowering communities and building their capacities for increased productivity and ability to compete in the market.
Women empowerment - Women represent their family in Heifer’s programs through Self Help Groups (SHGs), which are the foundation of community institution development. Families gain easy access to credit and market when these SHGs are federated into Cooperatives.
Increased income and assets - Heifer’s program focuses on goat and dairy value chains, resulting in increased productivity, total production and their marketing. On the next level, Heifer supports farmers’ institutions such as cooperatives and business hubs for mutually beneficial business relationship and fair share of profit.
Food security and nutrition - Increased income is then supplemented with training on nutrition to achieve food security and healthy communities.
Environment - As part of Heifer’s clean environment initiative, its programs promote environment friendly farm practices such as fodder/forage plantation and zero grazing and off farm practices such as construction of improved cooking stoves, bio-gas and hygienic toilets.
Pro-poor Wealth Creating Value Chains (PPWCVC)
Heifer’s program combines Values-Based Holistic Community Development (VBHCD) with market development mechanism to create a mutually beneficial linkage and business relationship which integrate poor and vulnerable groups in the value chain network in an equitable and fair manner. Competitiveness is achieved through philanthropic support to build the capacity of smallholder farmers to enable them to become strong players in the market.