A life sweetened with honeyJun 22, 2017
How the support of UNDP’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme offered an entrepreneur in Parbat options for livelihood and a way out of poverty he had never imagined possible
Tika Ram Timilsena from Deupur (now the Modi Rural Municipality) in Parbat district owns over 55 beehives, along with one orange orchard, from which he was able to earn close to Rs. 900,000 just last year. Tika Ram has also become something of a go-to man in the district insofar as beekeeping is concerned, and is a resource person for technical training in the practice. The previous year, he had received the President’s Award for excellence in farming in Parbat, along with an additional Rs. 10,000 in cash from the District Agriculture Development Office, and Rs. 25,000 from the Regional Directorate of Agriculture in Pokhara.
Two decades ago, Tika Ram had been struggling to provide for his family of seven—which had included his wife, two sons and three daughters. Poor health prevented him from taking up physically-exerting work as a wage laborer, and neither did he have sufficient land to farm—what he could produce on the small farm he kept was barely enough for his own family. Needless to say, options were limited and despair close at hand.
The fog lifted somewhat when, through some Village Development Committee representatives, Tika Ram learned of the work UNDP’s Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) was doing in the district. Desperate by now, and resolved to make the most of it, he met with the Enterprise Development Facilitator, who gave him detailed information about the programme. When he considered what skills he could develop that would be useful in the market, beekeeping came up as an enterprise with great potential.
This was in the year 2000—Tika Ram was soon being provided trainings in both specific technical skills related to beekeeping, along with enterprise development overall, which served to arm him with the technical and practical skills he would need to start his own business. To this end, he first acquired a small loan of Rs. 8,000 from the Agriculture Development Bank—which he used to buy two beehives—and that, coupled with MEDEP’s technical support, was how his journey in entrepreneurship began.
Although Tika Ram’s first attempt was rather shaky, and did not fully succeed, under MEDEP’s continued supervision, support and encouragement, he went on to receive another advanced training, one that further boosted his abilities and knowledge, but also, importantly, his determination to keep trying. And the honey bees didn’t disappoint him this time: Within a year, he had expanded to eight beehives, and was doing brisk business, keeping up with the high demand for honey. It’s been a sweet life since.
Keen on sharing his success with others like him, Tika Ram, with MEDEP’s technical assistance, also went on to establish the Dhaulagiri Beekeeping Resource Center in Patichaur, from where he could pass on his knowledge and skills in beekeeping and beehive management to members of the group, offer them a hand out of poverty the way he had once been. Remembering where he had been in the past, and where he is now, Tika Ram says he can scarcely believe the difference MEDEP’s assistance has made in the quality of his life and that of his family's.
MEDEP, with the financial support of the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has created more than 118,800 entrepreneurs nationwide, with more than 70,000 persons directly employed. Women account for more than 73% of these activities. As in Tika Ram’s case, for the past 19 years, MEDEP has been successfully changing the lives of Nepal’s poor through enterprise development programmes for poverty alleviation, and activities geared at creating self-employment opportunities.