Phul Maya and Her Tomatoes
Like many women in rural Nepal, Phul Maya BK (a Women’s Group member) works as a farmer in Chitwan District. In the past, Phul Maya raised mustard plants but found it difficult to make a profit because of intense competition from her peers (Nepal is one of the world's major producers of mustard seeds). She decided to grow tomatoes, even though it is a labor intensive and risky vegetable, because she noticed no one else was growing them.
Phul Maya explained that immediately from the nursery, tomatoes “need care like a child.” She invested much time and labor into producing a sizeable harvest. And through her initiative, commitment, and diligence, she managed to turn her loan of NR 15,000 ($150) from the Microloan Program into NR 200,000 ($2,000). Over the course of six months she grew a bumper crop of an ever-bearing tomato variety that develops into vines and produces until killed by frost.
Phul Maya was able to harvest a continuous supply of tomatoes for market, repay her loan within 6 months, and reinvest profits back into the business. Ultimately, Phul Maya invested NR 80,000 ($800) into her tomatoes and made NR 120,000 ($1,200) in profit. She is now able to move her family from their tiny hut into a bigger home, all thanks to her tomatoes!