The first training session at the Spiral Farm House happened last week: this is the moment to explain in more detail how we proceeded for the selection of the 8 farmers who are first taking the course and will become trainers themselves afterward.

The selection process started with the preparation of inspirational talk to motivate the farmers in several villages where the talks were held. These events were the occasion to announce the training would finally be started after recruiting farmers, which started at that moment. The important aspects with these talks were to intrigue the thinking of healthy and sustainable farming practice that these farmers could achieve – not forgetting to let them understand the value of their work. The interested farmers, both in learning organic farming and teaching their village mates, were asked to sign up after the talk for further, more detailed information. There were a total of 26 sign-ups.

 

The second meeting took place at the Spiral Farm House on May 30th, 2019, where all the previously signed up farmers were invited to hear more about the program and about the practical organization of the training. At the end of the meeting, 14 people declared still being interested in the training. We reminded also that the not selected farmers for the first training would still have access to the training later, delivered by one of their peers in the second circle.

 

After all the group meetings Juliette, Lucinne, and Sudarshan organized visits to these 14 farmers for further interviews and details of property characteristics: this took 13 days between the first and last farm visit because they had to adapt to everybody’s schedule and to the weather which was sometimes too hot during the day to move! The goal was to select one farmer from each village.

The interview was composed of 9 predefined questions: the part of land dedicated to vegetables, the main crops cultivated, the current farming practices, the major problems the farmer is facing nowadays, personal situation… But the most interesting question for us was: “Why are you interested in this program?”. Indeed, the most important criterion for us is the farmer’s motivation. We asked this open question so they could answer with their own words and express what they were expecting from the training. The majority of the farmers gave very inspiring answers: they are most interested in learning practices without the use of chemicals, farming better for their health and for the environment. Some farmers also mentioned the advantage of growing their incomes, and the will to inspire and embed others to organic farming.

During these interviews, the team in Nepal also wanted to make sure that the farmers would be ready to commit for the whole training period: one day every week or every two weeks, during 3 to 5 months (the period mainly depending on the monsoon and thus the farmers’ availability), and that they want to become trainers after the program for the other farmers around them.

At the end of the interviews, Sudarshan, Juliette, and Lucinne discussed all the profiles they saw. The team hoped an even distribution of good candidates, but one of the villages had two candidates who said they were too busy to enter the program, while another village had 5 great motivated farmers. The team, therefore, decided to include in the program several farmers from the same village: since the 8 villages chosen for the first training are close to each other, some farmers will easily become trainers for another nearby village.

 

The end of the selection process of the first cycle of farmers to be trained is now behind and we have 8 great motivated farmers, including 2 women – very important detail as Nepalese women are a majority to work in farming but rarely empowered to make actual decisions. They are also the future trainers for their own village community of minimum 6 farmers or alternatively a village nearby them. 

 

Follow our social media for the introduction of these fantastic farmers, who will be making the better tomorrow a reality. We’ll be also reporting on the progress of the program and the learning results in later articles.

 

Lucinne Ruff
Lucinne is one of the Agro team members. She is an environmental engineering student at the France’s leading school for agricultural and life sciences, AgroParisTech. Utmost interested in rural development and agroecology, social aspects are also very dear to her heart, thus her involvement in a project that will hopefully improve the living conditions of Nepalese farmers. She is fond of multiculturalism and is eager to experience cultural differences.

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