Pax Earth is committed to a clean, green, and sustainable environment. It is fulfilling ‘duty to earth and nature’ by conducting tree plantation in schools and communities in Namobuddha Municipality, Kavre, Nepal on a regular basis since 2012. Pax Earth had involved in tree plantation at Shree Raktakali Primary School, Shree Kalika Primary School and Shree Seti Devi Primary School several times under the Mission Environment and Education (MEE) project between 2012 and 2016. The great earthquake in 2015 destroyed the school buildings at Shree Raktakali Primary School and Shree Seti Devi Primary School and new buildings have replaced the destroyed ones in 2018. The premises in which Pax Earth had planted hundreds of trees before the earthquake were cleaned to pave the way for the construction. Fortunately, the school building of Shree Kalika Primary School and the trees in its premises could survive the great earthquake. The plantation could continue even after the earthquake under the MEE project.

Pax Earth resumed planting trees at Shree Raktakali Primary School and Shree Seti Devi Primary School on July 22, 2018 and on January 17, 2019 respectively after the classes are resumed in the new buildings. The organisation envisaged and designed a concept to create a fruit garden at each school under the Fruit Garden (FG) project and planted fruit saplings at that time. Importance has been given to survival of the trees therefore set a strategy is to protect and care the planted trees.

On January 21, 2020, Pax Earth conducted the tree plantation at Shree Seti Devi Primary School, Shree Kalika Primary School and at a homestead garden of a beneficiary farmer of the Water to Livelihoods (W2L) project under the FG project in Kot Timal village in Kavre district of Nepal. A 12-member Pax Earth team led by president Sujan Koirala along with advisor Rabindra Man Joshi, fruit development expert Ramhari Prasad Upadhyay, guest Gopal Prasad Koirala, executive committee member Laxman Prasad Neupane, member Debraj Ghimire, Rajan Dulal, Rajani Poudyal, Kapil Deuja, well-wishers Dhruba Basnet, Pratik Ghimire and Prastav Ghimire travelled there with 90 fruit saplings and conducted the tree plantation. At first, the Pax Earth team arrived at Shree Seti Devi Primary School located at Khardarpati. The team planted 2 fruit plants (1 walnut and 1 plum) at the school under the supervision of fruit development expert Ramhari Prasad Upadhyay. The students of grade 5 were involved in planting the trees. The team closely observed the fruit trees planted in January 2019 and July 2019. Total 18 fruit trees including 6 pears, 2 apples, 2 oranges, 1 mandarin, 2 pomegranates, 2 avocados, 2 pecan nut and 1 lemon have survived at the school.

The Pax Earth team then arrived at Shree Kalika Primary School located at Kanpur. Besides observing the trees being planted and grown over the years, the team planted 1 plum sapling. More than 50 fruit and wild trees including 5 pears, 5 apples, 1 mandarin, 1 avocado, 4 oranges, 4 chestnuts, 2 gooseberries and more than 30 wild trees have survived. After, the team arrived at Shree Raktakali Primary School located at Kot Timal. The team observed the plantation area but did not conduct the tree plantation. Total 20 fruit trees including 8 pomegranates, 8 mandarins, 3 avocados and 1 pear have survived at this school. The team was not satisfied with the school authority in terms of caring and protecting the trees as the rate of survival is decreasing every time they visit there.

After the schools, the Pax Earth team arrived at a homestead garden of Sudarshan Bhurtel, a W2L project beneficiary, where nearly 30 community people have gathered. The two ‘3ft by 3ft’ pits along with the ash, compost manure and mud were prepared for planting fruit saplings. The team demonstrated how to plant a fruit sapling properly under the guidance and supervision of fruit development expert Ramhari Prasad Upadhyay involving the community people. They planted one sapling each of pear and persimmon. The community people learned to plant the fruit sapling at the pits making the proper layers of ash, compost manure and mud. After the demonstration, the team distributed 8 saplings of apple, 22 saplings of pear, 13 saplings of plum, 9 saplings of walnut, 17 saplings of persimmons and 8 saplings of pecan nut and 10 saplings of kiwi fruits to 34 farmers including the W2L beneficiaries. Following the systematic way, they planted the fruit saplings on the same day.

The organisation has shifted its focus from the schools to the community for the fruit plantation as it is more beneficial for the community. They can give enough care to the planted trees. Once the fruit plants start to yield the fruits, the beneficiary farmers not only enjoy eating them but can sell the surpluses in the market too.

Most of the fruit saplings planted on that day are grafted saplings. The grafted apple, pear, kiwi, and persimmon trees generally yield fruits in 3 to 5 years. However, the ungrafted avocado, walnut, and pecan nut trees will take 5 to 7 years to yield fruits. Expert Upadhyay gave key advices to the principals and teachers of the schools and the community for protecting and growing the fruit saplings properly. Timely training, pruning, and manuring are a must for the survival and growth of the plants so that these can yield fruits on time. He demonstrated how to train and prune the trees at the schools and at the homestead garden of the farmer as well.

Two apple trees and 1 gooseberry tree at Shree Kalika Primary School, and 1 apple tree and 1 guava tree at a farmer’s kitchen garden where Pax Earth has been experimenting fruit cultivation have yielded some fruits for the past 2 years. More than 150 pcs of apple have been harvested in the last 2 years. These apple trees were planted in early 2015. The organisation is still in testing phase to identify which fruit trees are commercially viable for the community. Once the testing phase is over particularly at the community level, it will focus on cultivating the commercially viable fruit plants only.

Pax Earth believes that the trees help to absorb carbon and reduce global warming. The FG project is a small contribution towards this goal. Pax Earth is committed to planting trees time and again in the days ahead to fulfil this goal.

List of Fruit saplings planted on January 21, 2020
S.N. Name of Trees Beneficiary
1 Apple 8 0 0 8
2 Pear 22 0 0 22
3 Plum 13 1 1 15
4 Walnut 9 0 1 10
5 Persimmon 17 0 0 17
6 Pecan nut 8 0 0 8
7 Kiwi 10 0 0 10
Total 87 1 2 90

Reported by PEN Secretariat!!!