I received the opportunity to see a lot of people, exchange ideas and learn about how others are doing business. I also learned about entrepreneurial skills, challenges and risk mitigation. How to expand your business and especially about enterprise registration, investments and profits, market linkages, use of energy and the importance of family support.
Ram Maya Tamang lives in Kavre district, East of Kathmandu, Nepal. When she got married she was not able to continue school, as her husband’s income was not sufficient to support the family and her studies. Her education ended at fifth grade. In 2008, Ram Maya’s husband went to Malaysia, to seek work and a better income. Upon his return in 2012, they started a small furniture shop with the savings from his years away from Nepal. They were getting by until 2015, when a devastating earthquake struck the district.
Turning disaster into opportunity
Ram Maya and her husband lost their house in the earthquake and for months they lived in a small shelter, together with other villagers. In the following months, the reconstruction of destroyed houses in the areas offered them new opportunities for expanding their furniture business and starting a small hardware store.
Once the post-earthquake reconstruction was completed, they identified new business opportunities in piggery farming and dairy. In 2019, they started with ten pigs in two sheds and few buffaloes in a traditional barn. Nowadays, they have 23 pigs in four sheds and 13 buffalos in an upgraded modern barn. Their earnings from selling buffalo milk surpass NPR 150,000 (around USD 1,200) per month. Additionally, they also earned over NPR 100,000 (USD 800) by selling four pigs in the past six months.
Challenges and its mitigation measures
Though they planned to shift from their furniture and hardware business to buffalo and piggery farming, it was not easy for them to expand and sustain growth. They required an additional investment of NPR 2 million (around USD 16,500) for building sheds, purchasing piglets, buffaloes and input supplies, such as animal feed and medicine. The project "TA 9334 NEP: Strengthening the Capacity of the Energy Sector to Deliver Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Results” supported them in getting a NPR 1.9 million loan (USD 15,500) at a 6% interest rate from the Agriculture Development Bank Ltd. The interest rate is one third of the one offered by a local micro-finance institution, from which they had previously taken a loan of NPR 200,000 (USD 1,600) at the rate of 18%. When asked about their journey, they say “We are happy that we did not have to pay a high interest rate. It was challenging enough to manage the amount of the loan, but we were able to make the repayments on a timely basis” Ram Maya also recognized the crucial role that the training provided by the project played for her business. “Thanks to my mentors’ support, I was able to expand my business, improve my business skills and get a very good loan”. Thanks to the project, Ram Maya is now an empowered woman with business knowledge, taking crucial decisions for business expansion.
Serving their community
Ram Maya and her husband are now planning to produce and sell processed milk products such as Khuwa and Paneer, typical Nepali food items. She has asked her mentors to provide her with new skills about processing milk as well as business and marketing skills on how to link with potential buyers. She has also started exploring possibilities of selling dairy products to her existing customers. The businesses have not only provided Ram Maya and her husband with a full-time job and a good income, but allowed them to hire two additional people from their local community.
*The project was implemented by CRT/N in collaboration with PAC and NACEUN led by ENERGIA.