By Amar Raj Naharki, Tanahu, Dec. 2: It may sound weird, but it is true that a septuagenarian has been earning about two million rupees a year by the sale of grass in the district where Adikavi (pioneer poet) was inspired by a grass seller to do something in order to get remembered by progeny.
Bamdev Khanal, 72, of Gunadi, Myagde Rural Municipality-1 in Tanahu district has gained his popularity as a modern mower.
Not unusually, many people laughed at Khanal in the beginning seeing him irrigate and provide fertilizer to the grass plants. But now, they have also started to follow his path- grass farming and animal husbandry-for identity and income.
COVID-19 pandemic incurred losses to many, but it turned out to be a good time for farmer Khanal because the Corona crisis motivated many youths toward animal husbandry and there was a high demand for the grass sapling produced in Khanal's farm.
"I made a profit of about twenty lakh rupees in the months of Asar and Saun (mid-May to mid-July) by the sale of grass saplings as there was a big demand for them," Khanal said.
He said he earned the highest from grass selling this year compared to previous years in the last five years.
"I had earned over twenty two lakh rupees in 2015, in the year Nepal was rattled by the devastating earth quake," he said.
On average, he earns about 15 lakh rupees a year by the sale of grass.
He has planted grasses in 100 ropani of land by leasing 40 ropani of land on rent- both types of grasses, tree grass and land grass, that can be used as fodder for domestic animals.
Demand for the sapling of super Napier grass, a type of land grass, is very high, he said, adding he had other types of fodder trees known locally as Badahar, Raikhaniyo, Tanki, Koiralo, Bakaino, Pakhuri and Chiuri.
Khanal has been doing grass farming for the last 23 years in this district where Adikavi (pioneer poet) Bhanu Bhakta Acharya was born. It is said pioneer poet Acharya was inspired by a grass seller to do something memorable for the posterity.
As Khanal has got rich by selling grass, he has been renamed as new mower/grass cutter.
Before he started grass farming, Khanal's property was auctioned as he could not pay loan taken from Agriculture Development Bank.
But, now he has bought his ancestral property again by earning money from selling grass. "I sold my land for Rs. 80,000 to pay the loan and bought it for 1.5 million rupees again after I earned money from grass selling," he shared.
Dr. Bal Kumar Shrestha, chief of Veterinary Hospital and Livestock Service Center, said that grass sapling produced at Khanal's grass nursery had spread across the country and that many had emulated Khanal for his success.
Khanal's success story started in 1998 when he got opportunity to take part in a training on grass farming in Pokhara as he got recommendation from then existing Livestock Service Office.
Khanal has registered a firm, Kamdhenu Gai farm, in which he has reared one and a half dozen buffalos and cows of advanced breed so as to supply fertilizer to the grass farm. "I earn about two hundred thousand rupees from the sale of milk of these cows and buffaloes."
Khanal has already been honoured with President Farmer Award.