Feature: Chinese farmer makes fruitful living in Nepal's lake city

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-19 20:11:14|Editor: pengying
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By Shristi Kafle

POKHARA, Nepal, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Xiang Shaohua first travelled the Himalayan country as a tourist some eight years ago, but at the time he never imagined he could be living in a foreign land as a farmer, thousands of kilometers away from his hometown in China's Sichuan Province.

Since then, the 30-year-old man has been engaged in vegetable farming in Lake City Pokhara and making a good living from his profitable business.

His farm was initially based in a village called Hemja for almost seven years, but this year he moved it to a 17,800-square-meter plot of land in the town, which he has leased for eight years.

"I came to Nepal as a tourist but was so amazed by the perfect weather that I saw a high potential for agriculture here. I started a vegetable farming business which is my means of livelihood now," the Chinese farmer told Xinhua recently.

The Chinese farmer had learned the basic knowhow of farming from his father's vegetable business back in his hometown, which he believed could be of great use on a foreign land. According to him, there is not much difference between the farming procedures of Nepal and China besides the use of seeds and technology.

Xiang's daily routine starts at 6 a.m. every morning and he usually spends at least eight hours on his farm. His farming business not only generates revenue, but also provides employment for more than 10 local residents and day workers in his company, named "Rong Hua Green Lettuce".

Xiang's wife, father and a younger sister are also in his farming business. All of them work together to produce a range of seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, lettuce and cabbage, among others.

His products are usually sold in the local markets of tourist hub Pokhara, although a large portion of his produce is supplied to hotels and restaurants, especially Chinese enterprises.

"My sales reach around 4 million Nepalese rupees (about 38,880 U.S. dollars) annually of which over 1 million rupees (about 9,720 U.S. dollars) is net profit," Xiang told Xinhua with a big smile.

Among various items, lettuce is the most sought after product from Xiang's farm, which are in high demand from both Chinese and Nepali restaurants. After all these years, the Chinese farmer has become a well-known figure, highly regarded by hotels in Pokhara for his delicious produce.

He produces lettuce from Nepali seeds as he finds Chinese seeds expensive and difficult to import due to cross-border trading hassles.

"I use construction materials and a few farming tools that I brought from China, but the rest are all Nepali products," Xiang, known locally by his Nepalese name, Sandesh, said in fluent Nepalese, which he learned within a few months after arriving.

According to the Chinese farmer, Nepali farmers should be more concerned about local weather patterns, environment and soil type before getting into the farming business.

Xiang wants to expand his farm operation in Pokhara in a grand manner. For this, he wants to try his hand at fruit farming on a spacious land to make the business more commercially valuable.

"I want to live in Nepal for more years. Since Pokhara lacks fruit farms, I am planning to produce fruits that are suitable to the environment," the Chinese farmer told Xinhua.