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Transforming Urban Farming with On-Site Rooftop Training

On October 7, 2023, the Gham Energy Foundation organized an insightful onsite training event, delving into the topic of Rooftop Farming: Basic Training. This collaborative effort brought together by the Super Krishak app, the Gham Energy Foundation, Gham Urja Sewa, Lions Club of Kathmandu United Stock, and Budanilkantha Municipality Ward No. 12. With more than 100 registrations, the event drew over 50 enthusiastic participants, out of which over 90% were female participants. The training was hosted at Kathmandu Vidyalaya School at Kapan.

By 2050, the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion which can ultimately lead to significant food security challenges. To overcome this, rooftop farming could be a promising solution. With rapid urbanization and limited land availability, many urban residents are turning their rooftops to grow fresh produce. This practice offers an opportunity for urban people to actively participate in sustainable agriculture. Rooftop farming in Nepal is not just a source of homegrown, organic food but also a platform for community building, environmental sustainability, and economic empowerment as people learn to cultivate crops in an urban setting. While it presents unique challenges, rooftop farming is gaining attention and making a positive impact on urban life in Nepal.

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The training program was structured into three key subtopics: Introduction, Practical Approach, and Insect Pest Management in Rooftop Farming. Apeksha Shah, the Marketing Executive at Gham Power, skillfully moderated the entire training session. Notable figures present at the event included Sambhu Prasad Bhattarai, Chairman of Ward No. 12 of Budhanilkantha Municipality, Anjal Niraula, CEO of Gham Power, Jay Prasad Dahal (Lions Club of Kathmandu United Stock) and Susmita Mainali (Principal of Kathmandu Vidhyalaya School). With enthusiastic participation, the training session lasted for about three hours.

The first segment of the training, “Introduction to Rooftop Farming and Suitable Crops,” was skillfully presented by Kalyani Bhandari, who serves as an Agriculture Relationship Officer at Gham Power. She highlighted the significance of rooftop farming, emphasizing its nutritional importance, space optimization, cost-effectiveness, and leisure time consumption. She also discussed the various crops suitable for rooftop cultivation, including leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, and a variety of fruits and flowers.

The second segment, “Practical Approaches to Rooftop Farming,” was led by Suraj Poudel, an Agri-Business Development Officer at Gham Power. He delved into the essential aspects of successful rooftop farming, covering topics like pot selection, appropriate soil choices, site selection, water management, and the use of manure in terrace gardening. He also introduced the innovative concept of “ToPa Pravidhi,” a method involving two distinct layers of soil and water to foster plant growth.

The third segment, “Managing Insect Pests and Diseases in Terrace Farming,” Kiran Timilsina, the Head of Agri-Services at Gham Power expertly shared his knowledge. He shed light on the distinction between beneficial and harmful insects and advocated for organic control measures over chemical alternatives. In this segment, he also provided insights on how diseases and insects can be controlled through digital tools such as Super Krishak App.

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For those who couldn’t attend in person, all sessions were recorded and made available online. The event ran seamlessly, and certificates were distributed by the chief guest and other esteemed guests.

A special note of gratitude goes out to Joshna Silwal, the Executive Director of Gham Energy Foundation, and Roshani Shrestha, the Marketing Assistant at Gham Power for their dedicated coordination of this program.

Contributed by Suraj Poudel, Agri-Business Development Officer