July 1: Mustang, the district beyond the mountains renowned for its apples, has now shifted its focus to walnut farming.
Thasang Rural Municipality of Mustang district has initiated a programme to promote walnut farming. The rural municipality considers agriculture as main source of revenue. It has introduced an incentive scheme for the farmers by realizing the potential of walnut farming.
The rural municipality has come up with the concept of creating “one ward, one agricultural hub” in addition to giving priority to walnut farming.
Chairman of the rural municipality, Pradip Gauchan shared that priority has been given to walnut farming as the production cost is low and the outcome is good. He added that there is no problem of marketing and once planted, the produce can be harvested for years.
He informed that necessary programs and training for farmers involved in walnut farming has been included in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. According to him, farmers will be given lessons on planting and conservation of walnut while information related to technology will also be provided to them. In addition, the rural municipality has also allocated budget for irrigation facility, said Gauchan.
The rural municipality has adopted a policy of providing subsidy to the farmers on the basis of demand.
The walnut produced in Mustang costs between Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per kilogram. Traders have already started flocking to the orchards to look for produce in Thasang. The rural municipality introduced a program to promote walnut farming to link the farmers with income as bargaining takes place before the tree even bears fruit. In terms of climate, walnut cultivation is good in most of the wards of Thasang.
Apples, potatoes, walnuts and other vegetables produced in the rural municipality are also exported abroad.
Chairman Gauchan said, cultivation of barren land will be started next year in an effort to modernize the agricultural sector. The rural municipality has also announced promotion programmes related to animal husbandry in addition to fruits and vegetables.
The rural municipality has also adopted a policy to gradually reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in crops. Gauchan shared that the use of organic fertilizers and traditional home-made pesticides in apples, potatoes, beans, walnuts and other vegetables has been encouraged as the demand for organic products is increasing in the market.