Rooftop Vegetable Farming: Boon For Pokhara Locals

Sabitra Ghimire, whose ancestral home is in Lamjung district, came to Pokhara soon after her husband Deepak Ghimire started his business there. They then bought a plot of land in Nagdhunga, near Prithvi Chowk in Pokhara, where they built a concrete house. The surrounding area is replete with concrete houses, and an empty land is hardly seen.
However, the couple grow their vegetables on the roof of their house. The practice is increasingly drawing their neighbors’ attention.
Nowadays the price of vegetables has skyrocketed in the local market, but she is not aware of it.
“For three years now, I haven’t bought any vegetable from the market. Our success has caught the attention of many people, because of which some 130 households in this area are now growing vegetables on their rooftops,” she said.
Last year, when the country was under nationwide coronavirus pandemic-induced lockdown, the Tole Development Organisation set up agricultural produce collection centre in an effort to collect and distribute vegetables grown on the roofs. The Nagdhunga Tole Development Association has been able to earn substantial income by selling vegetables grown on the roof.
“Since the lands in most of the villages are barren, roof-grown vegetables has enable many to earn their livelihoods by selling them. Among those involved in this farming are those who have returned from foreign employment,” she said, adding, “Bottle gourd, bitter gourd, lemon, tomatoes and onion are mostly grown on the roofs.”
Dambar Subedi, chairman of the Tole Development Association, said that the collection center was set up last year to distribute home-grown vegetables to its own Tole dwellers and that vegetable cultivated in this way has greatly helped them in managing waste since almost all organic household wastes are used in the vegetable farming.
Similarly, Srijana Rijal of Pokhara New Road has also planted vegetables in the rooftop of her house. She said that she has not gone to the market to buy vegetables for a year now.
Taramaya Thapa Magar of Chauthe, Pokhara-14, is also happy after vegetable was planted on the roof of her house. She said that the waste generated in her house has now also been considerably managed and the money used in buying vegetables has been saved.
The Pokhara Metropolitan City has also been encouraging its residents towards rooftop vegetable farming.
Manahar Kadaria, chief of the metropolitan agriculture division, said, “We will provide training at the beginning as per the demand of the Tole Development Oganisation, after which we will provide them with compost bin at 50 per cent subsidy. This has resulted in both vegetable production and waste management.”
Rooftop farming training was given to 10,000 people in the previous fiscal year and the current fiscal year. About 50 per cent of the trainees have been cultivating vegetables in roof, said Kadaria.
According to him, Pokhara Metropolitan City has also distributed one lemon tree per house. Last year, they distributed lemon saplings in 100 houses.
According to the Pokhara Metropolitan Agriculture Division, vegetables worth Rs. 500 million can be produced monthly from rooftop alone.
Kadaria, said, “Up to 500,000 households in the metropolis can grow vegetable up to Rs. 500 million a month from rooftop.”