Deepa Poudel: Plant Doctor

Like many farmers in Nepal, Deepa had a small plot of land where she grew vegetables, mostly for her family. Through iDE, she learned about small investments that made her farm more productive and profitable. She signed up for training to become a Community Business Facilitator, so that she could help farmers in her community to profit from what she had learned. Within two years, she was making US$500 on commission from sales of useful tools like drip irrigation kits, and she had earned the trust of her fellow farmers by providing useful advice and technical know-how.

Two years later, Deepa trained with iDE to become a government-certified Plant Doctor. In this new role, she leads “plant clinics” where she prescribes products and techniques that address farmers’ crop disease and pest issues without harming their families’ health. She now earns about US$1,100 per year. Each of the 750 farmers Deepa serves – most of them women – makes about US$450 in extra income as a result of the help she provides.

Deepa is playing a critical role to address the invasive Fall Armyworm, which arrived in 2019 and is devastating corn crops. She is part of a network that stays in touch through text messages and Facebook, receiving and providing important information to rural communities to control the Fall Armyworm and also to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Although the current lockdown has prevented her from holding plant clinics, Deepa still provides services to local farmers—sitting outside the local agricultural supply shop for 2-3 hours in the afternoon so that farmers can come and get her advice.

Your support for Plant Doctors like Deepa is helping small farmers in Nepal to keep their farms going during the pandemic.