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Knowledge is the only thing that grows when you share it
PUM brought together expert Ton van Vliet and entrepreneur Prakash Panta. The Nepalese flower grower was keen to acquire technical knowledge, to improve production techniques and increase the quality of his cut flowers. That knowledge was not available in Nepal.
Ton van Vliet acquired his knowledge as owner of a carnation nursery. After selling the business, he came into contact with a PUM expert who asked whether he would be interested in working as a volunteer for PUM. Now, after 28 missions, he is still delighted with his choice. “I enjoy the work and interaction with people. It is a challenge to pass on my knowledge to people who need it so badly.”
Prakash Kanta grows cut flowers in Gunjanagar, in Nepal. He started growing gladioli and roses on 0.4 hectare of land, fourteen years ago. He expanded to include papayas, seasonal flowers and a variety of vegetables. In total, his business now occupies ten hectares of land, and he employs forty-five women and five men.
Prakash Panta explained, “I have already won prizes for my gladioli and papayas, but my gerberas are not doing so well. There is little knowledge in Nepal about roses or gerberas. I sent a request to PUM for an expert to assist me above all with my gerbera plants. I hope that expert Ton van Vliet will offer me the technical knowledge I need to improve my production techniques and in the end improve overall quality. Ton and I visited a number of other growers who are also experiencing technical problems. Via my business I have set up a group of entrepreneurs to help us move forward, together. It is my firm conviction that only joint action will help improve the overall region.
'PUM will help my business move forward by developing and improving our skills and production methods.'
The expert, who has years experience as owner of a carnation nursery, was able to provide the Nepalese entrepreneur with much useful advice. For example, dirt on the greenhouses was blocking out sunlight, causing valuable light to be lost. 1% more light means a 1% increase in production. This was the first point Ton recommended be dealt with. The next step was improved drainage. This was followed by numerous other issues relating to pests (and pest control), water quality, soil and plant nutrition.
Desire for change
Implementing Ton’s recommendations will take time. Even the most rudimentary instruments for measuring values are missing. Only on good days is twelve hours power available. Nonetheless, Ton is optimistic about the likelihood of success. He recognised the willingness to work hard and the desire for change. The people in Nepal have the ambition of becoming better than they are at present. Even during Ton’s visit this fact was proven by Prakash who had a test trench dug to test out a drainage method.