Well-experienced about the problems of irrigation while working on his fatherâ€™s farm, Paras Katuwal thought of applying drip-irrigation system on the farm.
After finding the farmers from all over Nepal reeling with the same problem, he got determined for starting a business that provides drip-irrigation, a modern agricultural technique that uniformly distributes water to all the plants with very high water saving. This is how Nepal Thopa Sinchai started.
Recalling the starting days, Katuwal shares that it was really challenging at the beginning as people simply didnâ€™t trust them. Apparently, there were no any sales for the first 2 months.
â€œIt was really hard for us to make the farmers understand about the technology. So, we established a demo farm in Balaju, where the probable clients could visit and experience how the system works. We started to demonstrate about the technology and work-techniques in the demo-farm,â€ he shares.
Sharing about the concept of starting the work, Katuwal says that though agriculture is a sector contributing a huge chunk in the GDP of the nation, almost none of the youths are interested in it. â€œWhen there is a huge gap, there is surely a big opportunity. And, I feel glad for being able to tap that opportunity,â€ he says with a joy.
The irrigation system is individually tailored for all the farmers and start from as little as 1500 rupees and reach upto 1 crore. They have provided services in all kinds of crops and plants, from vegetable farming to apple orchards.
Katuwal says that a well-irrigation is very necessary for the increase in agricultural production and drip-irrigation is much more effective method to conserve the water. â€œThe system can conserve at much as 98% of the available water. This is a method applied in foreign countries. And, if we want for the agricultural sector to grow, itâ€™s high time we follow the system along with the mechanization of agriculture,â€ he opines.
They also have agronomists to train the customers on using the technology along with providing soil and water testing services to farmers including that on infrastructure development.
In Nepal, farmlands are on uphills while streams are flowing just below the level of the fields. So, to solve the problem, they have started the solar water pumping system in the places where there is no electricity, taking the agricultural technology to the rural areas. Along with this, they have also been working on hi-tech greenhouse projects that automatically carries out heating, cooling and irrigation.
In this very short duration of 2 years, the company has been successful to provide services to more than 25000 farmers in the nation, from more than 60 districts.
About this rapid scaling up of the business, Katuwal considers himself fortunate for being successful in properly handling the business growth.
But, he expresses dissatisfaction for the lack of cooperation from the government level on fostering the use of agricultural technology. â€œI have been rejected most of the times while going to government offices. They simply wonâ€™t listen to us if we approach them with a proposal for conducting trainings or providing farmers with small agro-tech solutions and conducting micro-irrigation projects or even waiving the customs charged on agricultural tools. They will instead insult you,â€ he laments.
Started from very small scale, with small-size of projects, he remembers getting a project of drip irrigating an apple farm, amounting to almost 1 crore, as the most memorable achievement in his life so far.
To the farmers out there, he wants to convey a message that the government is not going to do anything good for them. â€œItâ€™s yourself who needs to come forward. So, adopt the technology and apply mechanization. If you increase the work efficiency, success is not that hard in agriculture. The production cost is lower if mechanization is adopted, giving you a huge profit. Use of technology determines whether you succeed or fail in agriculture,â€ says he.
Giving suggestions for the upcoming entrepreneurs, Katuwal shares that one should work for others for some years, know about how a company runs, market and the governmental policy about the profession including taxation and others. â€œIf you start without knowledge of anything, there are high chances of failure,â€ he says. He further shares that one also needs to have an aim and dedication towards the work to be a successful entrepreneur.
He now aims to make the company a billion-dollar business, by making it an export-oriented business to bring in foreign currency, ultimately contributing to the nation.
Presented By: Basanta Kumar Dhakal