On March 19, 2021, Pax Earth observed its fruit garden (FG) project implemented in Namobuddha municipality, ward no. 5, Kot Timal, Kavre, Nepal. A Pax Earth team led by president Sujan Koirala along with secretary Manohar Sapkota, horticulture specialist Ramhari Prasad Upadhyay and well-wisher Harindra Lal Shrestha traveled to Kot Timal and observed the fruit plants planted and grown at the village and the schools.

At Shree Seti Devi Primary School, 12 fruit trees including 1 orange, 1 lemon, 2 pomegranate, 2 avocado, 2 apple and 4 pear trees have survived. Similarly, at Shree Kalika Primary School, more than 50 fruit trees including 1 lemon, 2 gooseberry, 2 persimmon, 3 orange, 4 chestnut, 5 apple, 6 pear, and nearly 30 wild trees have survived. And, at Shree Raktakali Primary School, 8 fruit trees including 3 orange and 5 pomegranate trees have survived. Three apple and two gooseberry trees and plants had yielded some fruits at Shree Kalika Primary School and Shree Seti Devi Primary School in 2019 and 2020. Six apple trees – 4 at Shree Kalika Primary School and 2 at Shree Seti Devi Primary School have yielded some flowers. If these flowers can survive, we can expect some fruits to yield in the next few months. These results show that fruit plantation is quite encouraging at Shree Kalila Primary School and Shree Seti Devi Primary School but is quite discouraging at Shree Raktakali Primary School.

At the community level, the Pax Earth team observed the fruit plants at selected farmers’ homestead gardens starting from Kalimati through Bhainse. At Kalimati, we observed the fruit plants at the homestead gardens of Dev Bahadur Sorali Magar and Bishna Magar; at Kot Timal, we observed the fruit plants at the homestead gardens of Uttam Badal, Uddhav Koirala, Pramod Koirala, Tulasi Raj Koirala, Sudarshan Bhurtel and Dev Raj Khakurel and at Bhainse, we observed the fruit plants at the homestead gardens of Bishnu Raj Bhandari and Indra Raj Bhandari. We are quite encouraged to see the survival and growth of the fruit plants. At the homestead gardens of Dev Raj Khakurel, Bishnu Raj Bhandari, Indra Raj Bhandari and Sudarshan Bhurtel, 10, 9, 8 and 8 fruit trees have survived respectively. One pear tree had yielded a few fruits at homestead garden of Khakurel in 2020. It is important to share that 1 apple tree, 1 pear tree and 1 plum tree at Khakurel and 1 apple tree and 1 pear tree at Bhandari have yielded some flowers which indicate that these fruit trees will bear fruits in the next few months. Specialist Ramhari Prasad Upadhay has given important advice for cultivating fruits from these flowers.

At the homestead garden of Durga Prasad Mainali in Kanpur where Pax Earth has been experimenting the fruit plantation, 11 fruit trees have survived. One apple tree, 1 guava tree, 1 orange tree, and 1 kumquat plant have yielded fruits for the last two years. In addition to these, we expect few apple trees will bear fruits at his garden in 2021 as these trees bear many flowers.

The observations of the fruit plants at the selected homestead gardens show that above 80% of fruit saplings planted in January 2021 and above 70% of fruit saplings planted in 2020 have survived. The Pax team had planted 195 fruit saplings in January 2021 and 160 fruit saplings in 2020 (90 in January 2020 and 70 in July 2020). The reason behind the increasing rate of survival of the fruit plants is the effectiveness of the fruit trees management training conducted by Pax Earth in January 2021.

The results of the fruit garden project of the last few years in Kot Timal show that apple, pear, kiwi, avocado, orange, lemon, and pomegranate plants have high rate of survival, but persimmon, walnut and pecan nut plants have extremely low late of survival. In terms of fruit bearing capacity, apple, pear, kiwi, and lemon plants have high potential in the village.

Although the fruit garden project is progressing satisfyingly, the Pax team is worried that the villagers may face a great challenge for the irrigation as well as feeding cattle in the days to come. Due to a lack of rainfall for the past several months, most of the plastic ponds in Kot Timal are empty. If there will not be an ample rainfall sooner, they will not be able to harvest rainwater into their ponds. The rainwater has been the backbone for their agriculture and cattle farming and in the absence of it, their livelihoods will be at stake.

Nevertheless, gradually, Pax Earth’s aim of creating one garden at each interested farmer’s house will be realising in Kot Timal. Once these gardens start to yield fruits in a large quantity, Pax Earth will mediate between farmers and vendors to sell the fruits in the market in Kathmandu.

Reported by PEN Secretariat!