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Agricultural Projects 2017-04-15T17:37:39+00:00

Our agricultural projects play a big part in why we are able to do so much on such a small budget. Not only do we grow much of our own food (we even make our own cooking oil), but we also are able to sell excess production to generate much needed funds that can then be channeled into other areas. In this last year almost all of our day to day expenses, including our staff and workers salaries were paid for by our agriculture department through the sale of various produce.

Main Farm / General Crops

We are fortunate to have a huge amount of land (about 50 acres) in which we can grow crops. We grow a multitude of different things on this land but our main crops are wheat and paddy (rice). We are normally able to get two separate rice crops in each year and one crop of wheat. As well as this we grow a lot of mustard, dhal (lentils) and soybean. Our farm is managed by a team of people and is a hive of activity every day.

Dairy

We have around 45 cattle in our dairy which are raised to produce milk for our children; those who don’t drink milk get it in their morning porridge and chai (tea) throughout the day. All of our impregnation is done by a local vet artificially. Our milk production is quite good and extremely cost effective and the nutritional value for our children is obvious.

Tanakpur Property

We have another section of land that we have access to that is located in Tanakpur, a small town about 12km away from our main compound. This property was previously used to run a school but it was closed down over a decade ago. Since that time, the property has been mostly un-utilized and so we have started using it to grow produce such as fresh vegetables, dhal and wheat.

There are major problems with rogue cattle, pigs and monkeys raiding crops, but even though the returns are minimal they are still returns. Our hope is that we will be able to develop the property in the future in a way in which it can be utilized to its maximum potential.

Tractors & Spray Tanker

Our three tractors and spray tanker are kept busy each year. Some of our income is generated as a result of sending these vehicles out into the local market on hire. More and more farms and orchards in our area are turning towards the pressurized spray tank option rather than the traditional backpack sprayer as its coverage is greater and the time and labor taken to spray is reduced.

Fish Tanks / Aquaculture

We have two large tanks on the mission that we use to grow fish. After some major work in 2014, both tanks are now functioning very well. We farm four different species of carp in our tanks; these fish are used to provide our children and staff with a semi-regular supply of meat.

Workshop

We have a large workshop on the property which is used to maintain our vehicles as well as for fabrication purposes. Our ‘workshop boys’ can and have made everything from window frames and furniture right up to a hydraulic dumping trailer. We also look after our own plumbing and electrical work.

We have a variety of tools in the workshop: a metal lathe, welders, grinders, drills, compressor… you name it. Because of our ability to produce so much on our own, our construction costs are reduced significantly. We have plans to expand our workshop and open it up to the local public as an income generating project. We hope that through opening up our workshop in this way we can move closer to our goal of self-sustainability.

Some of our older boys also obtain training through the workshop, learning to fabricate and also maintain, repair & service vehicles/pumps. Our current workshop in-charge is a young man named Sunny who grew up in our hostels.

Carpentry Shop

We have an in-house carpenter who sees to all our wood working needs. Whether it is repairs to window frames, construction of a new desk or replacing the fly wire in a window he is ready for the task. A couple of our older boys also get involved for the experience.

Fresh Produce

Over the last few years we have strategically reduced the amount of fresh produce (specifically vegetables) that we grow on the farm and rather have turned our efforts towards a larger generation of our base crops (wheat or rice depending on the season). Excess of these base crops is then sold and the money is used to buy fresh local produce as required.

This has made our lives a lot easier as we can just focus on 2-3 crops at any given time (rather than 8-12 if we were planting different vegetables). Our fruit orchards are still in full swing; we have an estimated 130 fruit trees around the mission of various varieties: mango, papaya, lychee, guava, pear, plumb, banana & custard apple.

Mid-May sees the peak of our fruit crop start as lychees come into season. Lychees are a tropical fruit and a big favorite among everyone here on the mission. We have around 12 lychee trees here on the mission that provide more than enough for everyone during the heart of the season.

Shortly after the lychees are done the mango season begins. On years when we have bumper crops our children can eat as many as 15 mangoes each per day and there are still hundreds to spare. We make preserves, pickles, dried mango, mango curry and mango chutney… but no matter how hard we try the cows still end up getting plenty to eat themselves.