Nepals’ Dhankuta district was famous for exporting toothsome orange creating its niche market among consumers in the eastern Terai and also in adjoining Indian markets of Bihar and West Bengal. But of late, Dhankuta is turning to a brand new exotic fruit – avocado.
Why Dhankuta switched from orange to avocado? The mayor of Dhankuta Municipality Chintan Tamang has an easy answer. ”Due to several reasons like climate change and the likes, our orange production in the district depleted and we sought expert advice to replace the possible loss,” said Tamang, who has officially hired an agricultural expert. ”Avocado and dragon fruit were recommended as the most suitable fruits to our soils and temperature.”
After repeated soil tests and experts’ recommendation, Dhankuta Municipality decided to invest more in its production from the very beginning. For this, municipality encouraged locals to plant avocado saplings. In order to help farmers about basic knowhow of avocado, municipality published a book, authored by an agriculture expert Jiwan Rai, detailing commercial avocado farming.
In the early stage, Municipality imported 4,000 avocado saplings and distributed to local farmers. Later on, Municipality established its own avocado nursery and started distributing avocado seedlings. ”We have distributed around 25,000 avocado saplings to 500 farmers of all 10 wards of our municipality,” informed Bikash Adhikarti, the Economic Development Section Officer of the municipality.
Soon after distributing thousands of avocado saplings, the third Municipal Assembly of the Dhankuta Municipality brought a new avocado-friendly plans and policies. The Municipal Assembly unanimously declared Dhankuata as the ‘Avocado Capital’ on 22 June 2018.