Nestled in the remote and geographically isolated landscape of Koshi Province, Khotang District is home to generations of subsistence farmers, who often struggle to access modern farming information and markets. However, in the community of Phedi, amidst these challenges, the Patkaru Jaitun Farmer's Group is offering a new model of agricultural success that discusses their experiences. Established by dZi in 2019, this farmer's group has been instrumental in transforming the lives of its members and fostering community development through agriculture. These gatherings serve as a platform for farmers to discuss crop cultivation, share insights, and address any challenges collectively. Such collaborative efforts enhance agricultural practices and strengthen the community's bonds.  

The group's success is supported by dZi. After working with interested farmers to form small cohorts, dZi’s staff lead trainings on agriculture skills, group leadership, financial management, and entrepreneurship. In addition to these critical skills, dZi provides free cash crop seeds and saplings. Farmers buy the seeds at a subsidized rate from the group, paying only 50% of the cost, which would go to the group’s savings account. This fund, supplemented by monthly contributions from members, grows significantly and empowers the group to provide financial assistance to those in need.  

Farmers attend their monthly meeting in a local community building
Farmers attend their monthly meeting in a local community building

The Patkaru Jaitun Farmer's Group reflects the diversity of communities in eastern Nepal. Members range from 23 to 72 years old. 23-year-old Sangita Rai, the youngest member, feels the access to quality seed and the wealth of knowledge of her fellow members are invaluable. Moreover, the emphasis on nutrition education has transformed perspectives on food, fostering a culture of self-sufficiency and wellness.

Through dZi's Agriculture Program, farmers have embraced organic farming practices, and are cultivating a diverse range of vegetables – including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and more – directly contributing to their health and livelihoods.

The journey of Patkaru Jaitun Farmer's Group exemplifies resilience and adaptability, evident in their transition from subsistence farming to envisioning commercial opportunities. With newly acquired skills and resources, members are eager to explore avenues for market engagement, recognizing the potential for economic prosperity.

As they embark on the process of government registration, the group seeks greater autonomy to access subsidies and programs from the Government of Nepal, further supporting their sustainability.

In an area with few markets or economic opportunity, Patkaru Jaitun Farmer's Group stands as a testament to the power of inclusive, thriving, and resilient mountain communities. Through collaboration, education, and access to resources, they have not only improved their livelihoods but also emerged as agents of change. As they continue to pave the path toward self-reliance and prosperity, their journey serves as an inspiration for many other farmers in the country. 

Members with their record sheet, used for tracking their produce sales
Members with their record sheet, used for tracking their produce sales