Agricultural assistants like Natasha are helping the Dalit and Jaanajati castes in Nepal to change their farming methods during the monsoon season, helping them grow more crops and providing them with more opportunities.

Natasha is an Agricultural Technical Assistant working in the Jalpachilaune and Bhalayadada village areas. Aged 22, she is from a farming family in Gaighat and is the youngest of seven children. Natasha studied agriculture and has previous experience working with charities. She has intimate knowledge of crop cycles and can give farmers advice on the production of vegetables, fungi and livestock.

Natasha works with members of the Dalit and Jaanajati castes who are poor, lack opportunity and live on terraced hillsides with no irrigation. Production in these areas is generally limited to what can be grown over the monsoon season between June and August.

Farmers make the most money during this period and need support, which makes Natasha’s work invaluable. Natasha has knowledge of new and innovative farming methods that increase production and income for farmers as she helps them move from subsistence to commercial farming.

Natasha has worked in her community for two years now and is frequently challenged by her work. Changing farmers’ minds from a traditional perspective to a commercial one is often difficult, but it is worth it for the changes Natasha is seeing in her community. There are now kitchen gardens providing families with food and an increase in their income, helping them to access more education, health and other opportunities.