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Entrepreneurs in the Hinterland: This youth in Dhankuta earns 6 lakhs annually by selling orange plants


Story of a youth who dreams to see his entire village covered with orange plants

Num Chemjong is a young entrepreneur who sells orange plants all over the Maunabudhuk Rural Municipality in Dhankuta district. A 24 years old boy, Chemjong is a social worker and an entrepreneur. He is also a member of Nabajagire Youth Club and has also worked as the treasurer of Kirat Yatung Chumlung Club of Maunabudhuk.

After passing SLC exam in the first division from Maunabudhuk Higher Secondary School in 2065 BS, Chemjong joined the same school for +2 education. But coming from a family with a poor economic condition and being the eldest son in the family, he also had to take the financial responsibility of his family.

As is the trend in Nepal, his family also wanted him to go abroad to work after his +2 was over. But, Surendra Bahadur Chemjong, who was once awarded for the production of large quantity of orange in the nation, inspired him to do something in his own place.

Knowing that his land is also suitable for oranges, Chemjong started orange farming from whatever little he had with him.

At the initial phase, he collected orange seeds from his neighbors. It was the matter of year 2009. He had started with zero investment. Not only human resources but he also used his own field, and all other resources necessary for starting the orange nursery. He used 2 acres of his own land to sow the orange seed. He manually dug the pits for the seeds plantation, and used the compost manure from his own cow shed.

With the proper caring and watering, the seeds grew-up into plants day by day. Later, he spent some amount of money to buy ash and insecticides for the growth and development of plants.

Chemjong’s orange nursery
Chemjong’s orange nursery

“Orange plants are ready to sell within a year of sowing the seeds, with price range of Rs. 15 – 25. But, its price rises with the growth in the size of the plant,” he says, adding, “As a single 3-4 years old plant can be sold at Rs.400 – Rs.500, I mostly sell plants only after it’s properly matured.”

Chemjong in his orange nursery

At the end of first year of his hard work, he earned Rs. 60,000, and in the second year, earned Rs. 3,00,000. Last year alone, he earned whopping 6 lakh rupees just by selling the plants. In addition to this, he also earned Rs. 35,000 – Rs. 40,000 annually by selling orange fruits.

His current production of plant is only enough to sell in the Maunabudhuk rural municipality. But, he plans to grow enough plants to sell all over the district within the next 10 years. Chemjong shares all of his family members are equally supportive to his work.

Chemjong with his mother

Being a youth and a beginner entrepreneur, Chemjong finds that lack of enough knowledge about the area of interest, and support from the community degrades the interest and confidence in aspiring entrepreneurs. “To overcome this, the government and concerned authority should provide some training to the youths to make them self-competent. And it would be even better if government also comes up with the provision of providing small amount of loan for the beginners like me,” Chemjong shared.

He claims that within 10 years, the entire village will be covered with orange plants and named as “Suntala gau”. “We can do something in Nepal itself rather than toiling in foreign lands,” he says with confidence.

Num Chemjong is a strong example against those who see no future in Nepal.

Text and Photos: Kusum KC