Saturday, November 14, 2020

Scythe Project in Nepal -- 2020 update


2012 at Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC)

After a few years of dormancy, Alexander Vido's Scythe Project in Nepal (SPIN) is making further progress. The video from his 2012 SPIN trip can be viewed here:

Scythe Project in Nepal 2012 (SPIN)

It was this SPIN video which inspired Anant Chaturvedi and his father to contact Alexander in 2015 while he was coincidentally in India promoting the use of scythes (and looking for potential collaborators there). Alexander returned to India in 2016 with Sy Shotz, to do demonstrations arranged by the Chaturvedis. The video he made during this trip went viral on YouTube, amassing more than 18 million views, and helping to generate an ever-increasing demand for scythes in India.

Since 2016, Alexander has made several more trips to India to consult on the scythe equipment design and procurement, and the Chaturvedis (through their company VIKALP) have continued the demonstrations and training, putting thousands of scythes into the hands of farmers across India. The VIKALP scythes are being used to harvest paddy rice, wheat, berseem clover, and other crops, with great success. The number of scythes in India is growing from season to season, especially since the government recognized its benefits and began promoting scythes by offering a subsidy which reduces the cost to farmers.

And now, because the success with scythes in India has been noticed elsewhere, we have come full circle back to Nepal. 

Santosh Pandit and Ravi Prasad Choudhary, two agricultural engineering students at a university in Nepal, became interested in scythes for local use and were disappointed to learn that SPIN wasn't active at the time. They reached out to Alexander about what could be done to continue the SPIN project. Alexander suggested that their best option would be to contact Anant Chaturvedi to purchase VIKALP scythes and arrange for some training in Kanpur. Santosh and Ravi made a trip to India later that year, and they talk about their successful introduction to scythes in this video from VIKALP (with English subtitles):

Alexander has been corresponding with Santosh and Ravi since they first contacted him, and they have been collaborating with his contact at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), who had also noticed the successful use of scythes in India. Alexander returned to Nepal in January 2020 to discuss scythes with Santosh, Ravi, and NARC officials. NARC's plans to move forward with scythe trials in Nepal have been hampered by the Covid-19 situation, but we are all hopeful that they are able to reap the benefits from scythes in the near future.

at NARC, 2012

at NARC, 2020

at NARC, 2020

at Kathmandu with Santosh and Ravi, 2020

Photos provided by Alexander Vido, and used with permission.