Nepal: Ichangunarayan makes a living selling flowers

As soon as she migrated to Ichangunarayan on the western outskirts of Kathmandu after her wedding in 1996, Geet Lama, a native of a hilly village near Charikot of Dolakha, was worried about the future of her new family. Her concern was valid; in the traditional arranged marriage system, it was impossible for the new bride to know about how the family would earn a living.

Her worry soon faded away. “I was amazed to see that my in-laws were making money by selling flowers.” Before this, Lama did not have any idea that people could live on selling flowers. “I only knew about vegetable and crop farming and animal husbandry.”

Soon, Lama began accompanying her mother-in-law and father-in-law in the flower fields to plant flower seeds and saplings, water them, care for them, and pick them.

Most people in Nepal still think that flowers can be planted for the family’s aesthetic and religious needs. It has not been a long time since floriculture has been developed as an industry. Yet, for this village within the Kathmandu valley, flower farming has been the way of their life for decades now.

The village steals the limelight from the Kathmandu press around Tihar every year as if the villagers plant flowers targeting the annual festival. However, surprisingly, this village sells flowers around the year as floriculture has been the main income source for most of the families.

“All flower farmers here cultivate different species of flowers,” she says before identifying them in Nepali, “They grow in different seasons. However, we plant most of them, including different species of marigold, globe amaranth, and chrysanthemum in the monsoon, and they flower around Tihar.”

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