Situated in Ward No. 5 of Namobuddha Municipality in Kavre, Kot Timal village with a population of approx. 650 has been suffering from a huge scarcity of water be it for drinking, cooking, feeding cattle, or irrigating farmland for over a decade. The massive earthquake and aftershocks in 2015 added to their woes by drying up two natural sprouts. From one sprout, they could get reduced water approx. 20 litre per day per family which was used for drinking. And for all other purposes they did buy water paying upto Rs. 2.40 per litre transported through rivers down the hills. Their livelihoods were at stake at that time as they could not afford to raise their cattle paying up to Rs. 2.40/per litre of water. A few families migrated to Banepa, Dhulikhel and Kathmandu as they could not sustain their livelihoods. The village could offer mainly two livelihoods options for the villagers: agriculture and farming. A few could get the employment at reconstruction work after the great earthquake, but they were short-lived. The shortage of water impeded the community from exploiting agricultural and farming potentials.

To support in their energy and ease pain, the Pax Earth launched phase-I of the W2L project to help create or maintain the plastic ponds to harvest rainwater. We provided Silpaulin (plastic) sheets to 129 families to replace the old and worn out Silpaulin sheets or to dig a new one in May 2016. These plastic ponds provided access to more water particularly for rearing cattle and household use, and to some extent for homestead garden. In June 2017, considering the encouraging outcomes of the phase-I, we launched the phase-II to facilitate tunnel farming aided by drip irrigation system by providing Silpaulin sheets and drip irrigation kits to 10 farmers families. Until July 2018, we could cover 30 farmers families in tunnel farming under the W2L project.

On April 22, 2019, Pax Earth organised an interaction program with the beneficiary farmers at the Kot Timal village. The interaction program was consisted of focus group discussion, a few individual interviews and field observed. In total, 30 farmers took part in the individual interview and focus group discussion. The outcome of the program is presented below.


  • Ninety five percent household has a plastic pond to harvest rainwater and with an access to more water, they could sustain cattle farming and kitchen gardening. Twenty-five farmer families could involve in tomato farming in tunnel connected with drip irrigation system.
  • The main usages of the water stored in the plastic pond are feeding water to cattle, irrigate the kitchen garden and tunnel farming, washing clothes and sanitation. It is important to mention that most of the reconstruction of the houses could be possible with this water post-earthquake.
  • Each family could raise at least one cattle (cow or buffalo) for milk production. They could raise some goats as well. Some families have raised more than one cattle. On average, each family could produce about 7.5 litre of milk/day from a cattle, sell 6.5 litre of milk/day and attract an income of Rs. 10,000 per month in 2018. It costed up to Rs. 3000/month for raring one cattle. Hence, even a layman term they could save about Rs. 7000 per month.

  • The plastic used in the ponds are damaged generally by rats, pets and cattle. If the damage is of small in nature, they could repair with a special adhesive tape. However, It is not possible to repair if the damage is large. In this case, they must replace it with a new one. It is important to make a fence around the pond so that the pets, cattle and children cannot get into the pond.
  • In 2018/2019, out of thirty farmers receiving the drip irrigation kits and Silpaulin sheets for tunnel, five farmers could not involve in tunnel farming due to late initiation and unhealthy seedlings. One farmer could only produce 45Kg of fresh tomatoes for their own consumption. The twenty-four farmers could harvest in the range between 120 Kg and 805 Kg of fresh tomatoes and sell in the range between 120 Kg to 780 Kg till mid-March 2019. Most of the farmers could harvest from August through October 2018 but two farmers could harvest till mid-March 2019. The price per Kg ranges between Rs. 20 per Kg (August and September 2018) to Rs. 70 per Kg (January/February 2019). They could earn in the range between Rs. 5000 and Rs. 42000. The average income is nearly Rs. 13000.

  • It generally costs up to Rs. 18000 to make a (6m x 12m) tunnel for farming with drip irrigation system support. Similarly, it costs up to Rs. 3000 per tunnel per season for fertilisers, nutrients and medicines to cultivate tomatoes.
  • The participants shared that the tunnel farming is better than farming in open farmland. The drip irrigation system can save up to 80% of water while irrigating. Nutrients and water-soluble fertislisers can be applied directly onto the roots of the seedlings. The tomato cultivation outside the tunnel is more prone to insects and diseases than in tunnel farming.
  • Harvesting time for farming outside the tunnel is up to 2 months. However, harvesting period of tunnel farming can remain up to 8 months if cultivated and harvested carefully. Production and productivity of tomatoes in tunnel are 50% higher than in open farm. Product quality is high, and they can last for a longer period as the rate of decay is very low and can attract 20% to 30% higher price than produced in the open farm. However, the initial investment is higher as it costs significant amount of money to make a tunnel.
  • The major issues and challenges faced by the farmers in 2018 were less rainfall compared to previous year, diseases/insects such as tuta absoluta, white flies, early blight and late blight, and lower selling price of tomatoes compared to previous year. Challenges such as market to sell agriculture surpluses, price of the product, fluctuation in the prices are hindering their effort. Decreasing agriculture manpower has been another key obstacle. Access to adequate water and availability of an agriculture technician (JTA/TA) timely and on a regular basis will increase the production and productivity.


  • The farmers shared that the situation of the post-earthquake was terrible. They could not afford to feed their cattle paying a high price for the water brought from the rivers down the hills. At that time, many families were compelled to sell their cattle. As agriculture and farming were the major livelihood options, they could not sustain them. The Pax Earth intervened the village with the W2L project at a crucial time when a few families had already migrated to urban and capital city and many families were preparing to migrate. We provided Silpaulin (plastic) sheets to 129 families to replace the old and worn out Silpaulin sheets or to dig a new one in May 2016. The plastic ponds provided access to more water particularly for rearing cattle and household use, and to some extent for homestead garden. Later in June 2017, the Pax Earth began to support the farmers to involve in tomato cultivation in tunnel with a drip irrigation system. Till July 2018, thirty farmers families could be covered in tunnel farming.
  • More income from selling milk, cattle and vegetables has improved the standard of living of the farmers. They could not only cover their daily expenses, health care, education of their children but could also afford a smart phone and a television with DTH connection. Hence, we can argue that their livelihoods have improved on a varying degree after Pax Earth’s project intervention in 2016. The farmers are highly encouraged and motivated to extend their time and effort to get the better output from the cattle and tunnel farming provided there is an ample amount of rainfall to fill the pond and a timely and regular technical support for the tunnel farming.
  • If Pax Earth did not have intervened with the W2L project, many farmers families would have been migrated to Banepa, Dhulikhel or Kathmandu in search of a new livelihood(s) option. In other words, just because of the plastic pond, their livelihoods (agriculture and farming) have been sustained. Otherwise, they would have been migrated in a quest to search a new livelihood option(s). The milk production has been the main reason to stop the community people from migration. The role of Pax Earth in sustaining milk production through providing access to more water for the cattle farming has been highly appreciated by the community people. Improved access to water has encouraged the community people to add more cattle for farming and cultivate more cash crops in kitchen garden and tunnel. Hence, the Pax Earth could create a HOPE among the underprivileged farmers to get involved for a better future.

Reported by PEN Secretariat!!!