Democracy is expensive and funding political activities can be costly, which is why some local leaders in western Nepal have taken to fruit farming to fund their campaigns for next year’s elections.
They have found that farming is a good way to make a living, plough funds into poll campaigning without sullying their reputation with unethical donations, and approach locals.
“To do politics, we need money,” admits Nep Bahadur Chaudhary, a former Maoist guerrilla. “That’s why I farm. It does require a lot of hard work, but it also gives us the chance to make money. Direct contact with other farmers and traders also helps our campaigning.”
Chaudhary, from Kailali’s Tikapur, is a local leader with his own banana plantation. During the armed conflict, Chaudhary was the Maoist’s seventh division secretary. He and his wife, Rupa Chaudhary, former Constituent Assembly member in 2007, have been managing their banana farming business since 2011.
Chaudhary’s 3-hectare plantation is on loanfrom a local secondary school, and makes a profit of about Rs10 million a year.