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Green shoots in Nepal

Before last April, Khadka and his extended family of ten made a precarious living from farming.

Then the massive earthquakes that struck Nepal destroyed their home and crop stores.

They lost their water too – the stream they relied on for irrigation ran dry because of shifts deep underground.

The family planted rice anyway but the harvest was poor.

A surplus this year

Then they got a grant of £34 from the Red Cross to buy new seeds and tools. From this, Khadka was able to plant cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower and leafy greens.

He believes that this will produce enough vegetables to feed his family for the next few months.

Plus, he will sell the surplus to earn an income and pay for education and healthcare fees. With what’s left, Khadka will prepare for the next farming season.

‘Seed money’ gives opportunities

Khadka’s is one of 3,089 rural families who received grants from the Red Cross to buy seeds and tools after the earthquake.

For farmers like Khadka, who struggled to earn enough from farming in the past, this is true ‘seed money’. It allows them to start farming again and gives flexibility if they decide to grow more or new crops, or use new farming techniques with new tools.

Family’s income increases

Sabitri, a widow, lives with her teenage daughter, son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

In addition to losing their house in the earthquake, they also lost their cowshed so they now produce less milk and earn less money.

The Red Cross stepped in and Sabitri’s priority for her grant is to repair the cowshed to restart milk production.

"I will also grow vegetables and herbs,” she said. “We will be able to sell 25 per cent of our crops as opposed to the normal 10 per cent.

“With the money we earn, I can hire someone to work in the fields and prioritise education for my daughter and grandson.”

Nepal earthquake facts and figures

  • over five million people affected – 20 per cent of the population
  • 9,000 people killed
  • 18,000 people injured
  • nearly a million houses destroyed
  • over 3,000 farm families got Red Cross grants for seeds and tools
  • 250,000 people – 50,000 families – given Red Cross winter grants to buy the things they most needed, such as blankets and warm clothes.