Nepal is rich in agricultural heritage. Farming is not just a way of life here; it's the backbone of the nation's economy. A significant percentage of the population cultivate crops – from subsistence and commercial farmers with fields full of vibrant vegetables, to hobby farmers with small backyard gardens. Communities have accumulated generations of agricultural wisdom, but rural areas often fail to benefit from simple innovations that save them time and money. Despite their tireless efforts, they can’t fully benefit from their hard work.
To support a thriving future for farmers, the Government of Nepal is working with rural communities and dZi to empower farmers and foster innovation. Together, we are promoting organic agriculture, improving access to nutrition, and creating sustainable economies that serve subsistence farming communities.
Vice-Chairperson of Mahakulung, Bipana Kulung, admiring the crop entries
In dZi's program area, farmers are often separated by the mountainous landscape and do not have frequent opportunities to see each other’s successes. To foster agriculture exchange and entrepreneurship within communities, dZi supports Agriculture Fairs – gatherings that celebrate harvests, sustainability, and community. In the Mahakulung Rural Municipality in Solukhumbu District, the local government recently organized a fair that celebrated improvements in agriculture and tourism. The fair was a vibrant showcase of the region’s farming bounty, featuring 30 different crops. Farmers exhibited their best broccoli, pumpkin, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, as well as specialized cash crops like kiwi, ginger, and cardamom.
Farmer's Groups also participated in a traditional Silitos dance competition. Some local entrepreneurs exhibited Allo (Himalayan Giant Nettle) and upcycled plastic products. The fair also hosted an art competition where school-aged children created art inspired by their home gardens. With so many events and competitions, the fair had become a true community gathering.
A farmer's group performing a traditional dance
Group performance during the agriculture fair
Beyond the agricultural displays, the fair also acknowledged the special contribution of individuals within the farming community. The local government recognized the pivotal role of women in shaping the region's agricultural landscape and honored Nebika Kulung as the Best Woman Farmer and Deuki Maya Rai as the Best Woman Entrepreneur. Nebika expresses her happiness, saying, “I feel more enthusiastic after receiving the recognition. This fair has encouraged farmers to engage in farming. Even those people who did not cultivate vegetables have started farming after witnessing farmers being recognized in society.”
Nebika Kulung receiving Best Woman Farmer award
Celebrations like these are becoming more common in Koshi Province of Nepal. With dZi’s support, the Kepilasgadi Rural Municipality and Aishelukharka Rural Municipality of Khotang District hosted their first-ever Agriculture Fairs this year. Farmers from these regions also showcased 30 types of crops, highlighting the widespread commitment to sustainable and innovative farming practices. In Kepilasgadi, the Best Woman Farmer title was received by Yamuna Rai, a dedicated 43-year-old farmer and treasurer of Baabari Farmer’s Group. She secured the first position in four crop categories. She says, “Nothing is impossible; everything becomes achievable through constant effort, and there is immense potential in agriculture. My intention is to contribute and enhance agriculture and farming till the day I die.”
Yamuna Rai receiving the Best Woman Farmer award
These Agricultural Fairs signify more than just harvest celebrations. They embody a collective vision for a prosperous and sustainable farming future. Through these gatherings and initiatives, farmers grow their community, learn from one another, gain motivation for the season ahead, and learn about the importance of organic agriculture. By supporting and fostering the ambition of farmers, dZi and rural communities are investing in sustainable livelihoods for years to come.